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BX 7117 .S5 1853 v.l 
Shepard, Thomas, 1605-16A9. 
The works of Thomas Shepard 




n^ ^ 

THE 1^ JUL 2 1968 ^ 







VOL. I. 


1 S53. 


The Doctrinal Tract and Book Society now offer to the public a col- 
lected edition of the works of Thomas Shepard, with a Memoir of his Life 
and Character. The Memoir was written by John A. Albro, D. D.. of 
Cambrids:e — the Pastor of the same church gathered by Shepard. The 
articles which make the vohimes we now issue were printed, some of them 
in Shepard's lifetime, and some after his death ; some of them in this 
country, and some of them in England. Some of them have passed through 
several editions, and were much esteemed, and exerted great influence in 
their day, but all of which have long since been out of the market, and are 
not to be found, except in some public and ancient library, or here and there 
in some family, handed down from past generations. 

From his character and influence in the early history of the Massachu- 
setts colony, from the intrinsic merit of his writings, and from an in- 
creasing desire that the sacred literature of the New England fathers should 
be revived and placed before the present generation, it has been deemed 
desirable to issue Shepard's works. 

His power as a preacher has seldom been equaled, and his writings have 
had, and are destined still to have, great influence in the formation of 
Christian character. The frequent quotations from him by President 
Edwards and the earnest commendation of him by David Brainerd (see 
vol. iii. page 387) and other distinguished men, are sufficient to secure the 
extensive circulation and reading of these volumes. 

Shepard's style of writing is somewhat peculiar. He abounds in numer- 
ical divisions and subdivisions, and sometimes these divisions and subdi- 
visions are so intermixed as to make it difficult to distinguish the one from 
the other. A few obsolete words are sometimes used, and in a few instances, 
sentences are found somewhat obscure, owing, as is presumed, to the fact 
that some of the articles were published after his death from brief notes used 
to guide his thoughts in speaking, and not designed for the press, and which 
he would have filled out,* or made more perspicuous, had he lived to edit 
these articles himself. But, lest we should be supposed to alter his mean- 
ing, we do not undertake to fill up seeming omissions, or to clear up ob- 
scurities. We design to give a faithful transcript of the man, and his works, 
without abridgment or alteration, except the orthography, which we conform 
to the present standards. We would have those eminent men of olden 
time, who, by their stern integrity, their consistent piety, and their ardent 
attachment to divine truth, contributed so much to give character and 
stability to our institutions, speak for themselves, and in their own manner. 

While we revere their memory, and sre thankful for the privilege of trans- 
mitting their pious and able productions to succeeding generations, we do 
not feel responsible for every sentiment they have advanced, and would 
leave each reader to compare them with the only infallible standard, and form 
his own conclusions. 

With these sentiments, we commit these volumes to the public, with the 
devout prayer that a divine blessing may attend them, and that the piety 
and power of Shepard may be revived again. 

Boston, May, 1853. ' The Editor. 





Life of Thomas Shepard, by John A. Albro, D. D., . . vii-cxcii 




There is a God, and this God is most glorious, 9-17 

Four grounds to prove there is a God, 10,11 

Objections answered, 11-13 

God most glorious in his essence, . . 14 

God most glorious in his attributes, 14-17 

Attributes of God stated and explained, 15-17 

God glorious in his person, 17 

God glorious in his works, 17 


God made all mankind at first in a most glorious and happy state, 

like unto himself, 18-24 

The image of God in man appeared in four particulars, in his un- 
derstanding, in his affections, in his will, and in his life, . . . 18, 19 
Horrible nature of Adam's sin, and the occasion every man has to 

lament his fallen state, 19, 20 

The subject speaks comfort to God's people, 20 

The subject reproves such as are ashamed of holiness, 20, 21 

The subject reproves such as hate holiness, 21 

The subject reproves such as are contented with a certain measure 

of holiness, 21-23 

Three rules to get the image of God renewed, 23, 24 


All mankind fallen by sin into a most woful and miserable condition, 24-46 

Man's misery by the fall, in regard to sin and its consequences, . . 24-27 

The best actions of unrenewed men are sinful 30-32 


Objection answered, 32 

Man's present misery in regard to the consequences of sin in seven 

particulars, 32-35 

Future misery in consequence of sin, 35-37 

A general judgment proved, 39, 40 

How the judgment shall be, 40, 41 

The wrath of God, what ? 42-46 

The Lord Jesus Christ is the only means of redemption and deliv- 
erance, 46-55 

HoAv Christ redeemeth men shown in four particulars, 46 

Christ is offered to all, 49 

Four sorts of people that reject Christ, 52, 53 

Rejecting Christ a dangerous sin in five respects, 53, 54 

The danger of security, 54, 55 


Those that are saved are few, and are saved with much difficulty, . 55-68 

The small number of true believers in all places, . 55-58 

A use of exhortation to all, 58, 59 

Objections and pleas answered, 59-62 

Unregenerate men live in some known sin, and are never poor in spirit, 62, 63 

Those that are saved, saved with diffieulty, 64 

Four strait gates described, 64, 65 

Nine easy ways to heaven, all which lead to hell, 65-68 


The cause of man's eternal ruin is from himself, 68-109 

The ways in which men ruin themselves — by ignorance, .... 68 

Two sorts of people ignorant of their misery, 69-71 

False principles by which men are deceived, 71, 72 

Seven distempers in the mind whereby men are deceived, .... 72-78 

Mistaking some light sorrow for sin for true repentance, .... 78 

Mistaking compunctions of conscience for striving against sin, . . 79, 80 

Mistaking the exercises of the heart, 80-82 

How false peace is bred in the soul, 82, 83 

1. By Satan, in five ways, . . . ^ 83-90 

2. By false teachers, 85, 86 

3. By a false spirit, five several ways, .86,87 

4. By a false application of the true promises, B7 


Corruptions and distempers of the will, the cause of self-decep- 
tion, three ways, . . 87-89 

Carnal security is another reason of man's ruin, . . ... 89 

Reasons of this security seen in ten particulars, 89-93 

An exhortation to awake out of security, 93 

Instructions how to get a broken heart, 93, 94 

Carnal conlidence is another reason of man's ruin, 94 

Carnal confidence seen in their resting in duties shown in ten 

particulars, 95-99 

Why men rest in their duties, four reasons, 99, 100 

Signs of a man's resting in his duties, six particulars, .... 101-104 

The insufficiency of all duties to save man, 104, 105 

The end of our good duties, 105-107 

Presumption or false faith another way of man's ruin, .... 107, 108 




Sect. 1. A fourfold act of Christ's power in rescuing and deliv- 
ering men out of their miserable state, 115-117 

Sect. 2. The first act of Christ's power is conviction of sin. 
What is the sin the Lord convicts of? How he doth 
it ; and what measure and degree of conviction he 
works, 117-136 

Sect. 3. The second act of Christ's power is compunction, or 
sense of sin. 1. This compunction immediately fol- 
lows conviction. 2. The necessity of this to succeed 
the other. 3. Wherein it consists. 4. The measure 
of it in all the elect. 136-174 

Sect. 4. The third act of Christ's power, which is humiliation. 
1. What is this humiliation'? 2. What need there 
is of it. 3. What means the Lord useth to work it. 
4. What measure of it is here required, 174-190 

Sect. 5. The fourth and last act of Christ's power is the work 

of faith. 1. Faith defined, 190-193 

a *' 


2. The efficient cause of faith, 193-199 

3. The subject or matter of faith, 199-201 

4. The form of faith, 201-211 

5. The end of faith, 211-219 

6. The special ground of faith, viz., the call of Christ 

in his word, 219 

The nature of this call, 220-223 

The necessity of this call in three particulars, . . . 223-230 

An exhortation to come to Christ, 230-237 




Sect. 1. Justification, its nature, its efficient cause, its subjects, 

and its results, 237-247 

Sect. 2. Reconciliaiton. It consists in two things, viz., our 

peace with God, and the love and favor of God, . . 247-251 

Sect. 3. Adoption ; begun and perfected, 251-255 

Sect. 4. Sanctification, its nature, and its evidence of justifi- 
cation, 253-263 

Sect. 5. Audience of all prayers, 263-267 

Sect. 6. Glorification. What is it ? 267-274 







PROMISES, 285-297 










The materials for the ensuing Life of Thomas Shepaed have been 
gathered from his own writings, and from all accessible contemporaneous 
sources. Besides his printed works, wliich exhibit his views of religion and 
the church, and aid us in forming a judgment respecting his mind and char- 
acter, Mr. Shcpard left in MS. an Autobiography, containing brief notices 
of the principal events in his personal and domestic history, which was first 
published to the world by Rev. Nehemiah Adams, in 1832, and more recent- 
ly by Rev. Mr. Young, in " The Chronicles of Massachusetts." The Life 
of Shepard, as it is called, in Mather's Magnalia, the only one that has ever 
been written, is but little more than an abridgment of this Autobiography, 
(the third person being used instead of the first,) with a few quaint, general 
observations interspersed, which, together, constitute but a meager and 
unsatisfiictory view of the character and influence of this eminent man. In 
the present work. Mr. Shepard's account of himself has, of course, been 
relied on, as far as it goes, for facts and dates ; but a vast amount of mat- 
ter, essential to the illustration of his labors, and to a just view of his posi- 
tion in New England, has been drawn from other sources. Several inter- 
esting MS. Letters, never before published, which throw much light upon 
Mr. Shepard's domestic and public life, have, by the permission of Mr. Felt, 
the accomplished librarian of the Massachusetts Historical Society, been 
kindly transcribed for the author by Mr. David Pulsifer, the only man, it 
is believed, who could have deciphered the chirography in which they have 
been locked up for more than two hundred years. The Avork is, doubtless, 
very imperfect, notwithstanding all the pains which have been taken to ren- 
der it complete ; but, as a sincere tribute to the memory of one of New 
England's best as well as chief fathers, and an attempt to vindicate the 
principles of those men to whom we owe our civil and religious liberty, it 
is commended to the children of the Puritans, in the hope that it may be 
regarded as not entirely destitute of interest, and contribute somewhat to 
the success of the cause in which we are engaged. 

This memoir was originally written for the Massachusetts Sabbatli School 
Society, and may be had, separately, at their Depository, 





The shield of faith. — General character and different classes of early N. E. 
ministers. — Mr. Shepard one of the first class. — His birth. — William 
Shepard. — A mother's influence. — Sent to reside with his grandparents. 
Removed to Adthrop. — WhitsunAles. — Returns home. — Changes in 
the family. — Unkind step-mother. — Welsh schoolmaster. — Death of his 
father. — Education neglected by his mother-in-law. — His brother John 
offers to educate him. — Goes to a new school. — Diligence in study. — 
Fitted for college. 

Virgil, in the eighth book of the iEneid, tells us that the 
shield which Vulcan, at the request of Venus, made for ^neas, 
contained in sixteen compartments, or pictures, a prophetic 
representation of the Roman history from the birth of Asca- 
nius to the battle of Actium. 

" The brethren first a glorious shield prepare, 
Capacious of the whole Rutulian war. 
Some, orb in orb, the blazing buckler frame ; 
Some with huge bellows rouse the roaring flame. 

With joy the weighty spear the prince beheld, 
But most admired the huge, mysterious shield ; 
For there had Vulcan, skilled in times to come, 
Displayed the triumphs of immortal Rome ; 



There all the Julian line the god had wrought, 
And charged the gold with battles yet unfought." * 

A device which must have been as terrible to the enemies 
of the Trojan hero as it was encouraging to the bearer. 

What Virgil here presents as a beautiful poetic idea, the 
Redeemer of the church has actually realized for us. We have 
the shield of faith, wherewith to quench all the fiery darts of 
the wicked, emblazoned with the mighty history, past and pro- 
spective, of his stupendous victories. On one part of its flam- 
ing disk we see the story of the ancient dispensation, written 
for the admonition and encouragement of those who have inher- 
ited " the covenants, and the promises, and the service of God ; " 
on another portion, there appears the memorable history of our 
own New England Patriarchs, from the birth of Puritanism 
to the permanent and quiet settlement of a pure church in 
this land, exhibiting the trials, sufferings, conflicts, and triumphs 
of those Christian heroes who turned this wilderness into a fruit- 
ful field ; a history which should be kept in perpetual remem- 
brance, and constantly held forth to the world, for the purpose 
of animating their and our posterity in the labors and conflicts 
that are before us.f 

The ministers and Christians by whom New England was 
planted, as one of our early historians has remarked, were a 
chosen company of men, drawn from nearly all the counties 
of England, not by any human contrivance, but by a peculiar 
work of God upon their spirits, inspiring them as one man to 
retire into the wilderness they knew not where, and to suffer 
in that wilderness they knew not what, for the glory of God, 

* Ingenteui clypeum inform unt, unum omnia contra 
Tela Latinorum, septenosque orbibus orbes 

lUic res Italas, Romanorumque triumphos 
Haud vatum ignarus, venturique inscias .gevi, 
Fecerat ignipotens : illic genus omne futurse 
Stirpis ab Ascanio, pugnataque in ordine bella. 

t See Letters on the Puritans, by J. B. Williams. 


and for the good of their children.* " God sifted three na- 
tions," says Stoughton, " that he might bring choice wheat into 
this wilderness." 

These early ministers of New England are divided, by 
Mather, into three classes : 1. Those wdio were ordained and 
in the actual exercise of the ministry when they left England, 
and were the first to preach the gospel and to establish church- 
es, according to the scriptural model, in this country. 2. Young 
scholars, who came over from England with their parents and 
friends, and completed their education — already begun at home 
— in this country, before the college was in a condition to be- 
stow its honors. 3. 'Those who came over to New England 
after the reestablishment of Episcopacy in the mother country, 
and the revival of that persecution which was designed, as 
James I. declared, to force the Puritans to conform, or to " harry 
them out of the kingdom." 

To these Mather adds a fourth class, which he calls, fitly 
enough, the "Anomalies of New England," that is, a few minis- 
ters from other parts of the world, wdio proved either so errone- 
ous in their principles, or so scandalous in their lives, or so hostile 
to the order of the churches, that they cannot be classed among 
our " worthies," and deserve no honorable notice from us.f 

Mr. Shepard, whose life we here attempt to delineate, be- 
longed to the first class of ministers, who were instrumental 
in laying the foundations and in settling the order of the first 
churches in Massachusetts ; and although his humility ever 
constrained him to take the lowest place, yet in learning, tal- 
ents, piety, and influence he was not a whit behind the "very 
chiefest of the apostles " of Congregationalism in the new world. 
He was one of those " wise master builders " — few in number, 
but great in all that constitutes true excellence — to wdiom we 
owe whatever of simplicity, strength, or solidity belongs to our 
ecclesiastical system, and, we may add, to our civil state. His 
name may not be so often pronounced in discourse respecting 

* Magnalia, b. ili. \ Ibid. b. ill. 


the original constitution of our churches as that of John Cotton, 
who has been called, and not improperly, the " Father of Con- 
gregationalism " in New England ; but the part he acted, and 
the influence he exerted in fashioning these churches according 
to the "pattern showed in the mount," entitled him to equal 
honor. Not inferior to Norton, Hooker, or Davenport, in intel- 
lectual strength and logical acuteness, he perhaps excelled them 
all in that fine, beautiful, practical spirit, which was at that time 
more needed than even genius, and in contemplating which, we 
become insensible to the greatness of his talents and the extent 
of his learning. Although he was a prominent and an efficient 
actor in scenes of controversy and public disorder, which stirred 
up all the fountains of bitterness, such were his candor and ten- 
derness that the odium of persecution was never attached to his 
memory ; and while subject to like passions, and exposed to the 
same temptations, as other men, his reputation has descended to 
us without a blot from the hand of friend or foe. It is not too 
much, therefore, to say, that Mr. Shepard was a man whom 
Massachusetts and New England ought to hold in profound re- 
spect ; and his life, if it receives any thing like justice from his 
biographer, will be read with interest and profit by all classes of 
the community. 

Thomas Shepard was born at Towcester, near Northamp- 
ton, in Northamptonshire, England, on the fifth day of Novem- 
ber, 1605. His own statement, in his Autobiography, is, that 
he was born " in the year of Christ 1604, upon the fifth day of 
November, called the Powder Treason day, and at that very 
hour of the day wherein the Parliament should have been 
blown up by the Popish priests ; " which induced his father to 
give him this name, Thomas, " because, he said, I would hardly 
believe (an allusion to the scepticism of the apostle Thomas) 
that ever any such wickedness should be attempted by men 
against so religious and good a Parliament." As it is certain 
that the famous Powder Plot was contrived, if contrived at all, 
in 1605, and was to have been executed on the fifth day of No- 


vember, we are obliged to place Mr. vShepard's birth in this year 
and on this day, notwithstanding the contradictory date with 
which he begins his account of himself ; for it is more likely 
that he should have forgotten, at the moment of writing, the ex- 
act date of the Powder Plot, than the fact, — so indissolubly as- 
sociated with his name, — that according to the family record 
and tradition, he was born at the very hour when the Parlia- 
ment was to have been blown up by gunpowder. 

The father of the subject of this memoir, William Shep- 
ard, was born in Fossecut, a small town near Towcester. 
He was bred to the business of a grocer by a Mr. Bland, 
whose daughter he married, and by whom he had nine 
children : three sons, John, William, and Thomas ; and six 
daughters, Ann, Margaret, Mary, Elizabeth, Hester, and Sarah. 
He seems to have been a wise, prudent, and peace-loving man ; 
and, toward the close of his Hfe, very prosperous in his busi- 
ness. That he was also a godly man^ in the sense in which the 
Puritans used that phrase, appears from the fact that he re- 
moved to Banbury, in Oxfordshire, for the sole purpose of en- 
joying the light of an evangelical and effective ministry — a 
blessing which, it seems, could not be had at Towcester. A 
worldly man, or a mere formalist in religion, was not likely to 
sacrifice his temporal interests in order to promote the welfare 
of his soul, nor leave a quiet and respectable establishment, 
like the English church, for such preaching as was at that time 
heard from Puritan pulpits. 

In the early training and ultimate development and formation 
of a man's mind, the character and influence of his mother are 
of preeminent importance. The seed that is to germinate and 
bear fruit in mature life, is ordinarily planted by the maternal 
hand during the first years of childhood. The influence which 
is to surround the growing intellect like an atmosphere, and act 
upon it at every stage of its progress, flows most frequently 
from the heart near which the young immortal has been nour- 
ished ; and happy is the child wlio can remember nothing earlier 
than those looks, tones, prayers, and tears which are the natural 
VOL. I. h 


expressions of maternal piety. They can never be forgotten ; 
and amidst the most powerful temptations, and the wildest con- 
flicts of passion, they throng around the soul with warning and 
beseeching voice, to withdraw it from danger, or to awaken it to 
repentance. Augustine acknowledged that he owed his conver- 
sion, under God, to the tears and prayers of his mother ; and 
Cecil says that he should have been an infidel, if it had not been 
for the quiet but perpetual influence of her whom he loved abore 
all other beings. Mr. Shepard was blessed with a pious mother. 
She was a woman of a tender and affectionate disposition, and 
" much afflicted in conscience, sometimes even unto distraction," 
but she was " sweetly recovered," and passed her latter days in 
the enjoyment of mental serenity and religious peace. She 
prayed much for her children, and especially for Thomas, " her 
youngest and best beloved," upon whose mind she seems to have 
left the impress of her gentle and pious spirit, as well as of her 
tender and scrupulous conscience, which were its most distin- 
guishing characteristics in after life. She died when Thomas 
was about four years old ; but young as he was, he was sensible 
of the " exceeding love " which she felt for him, and during the 
darker season which followed, he remembered her with a corre- 
sponding affection. 

When Thomas was about three years of age, he was sent to 
reside with his grandparents at Fossecut, in order to avoid an 
epidemic disease which had begun to prevail at Towcester, and 
soon swept away several members, sisters as well as servants, 
from his father's family. Fossecut was a small, obscure, and 
wicked place — "a most blind town and corner. " The aged 
grandfather and grandmother, though in comfortable circum- 
stances as to temporal matters, were very ignorant, and, as 
we should naturally infer from the manner in which they dealt 
with the little boy committed to their care, very irrehgious 
people ; for here he was " put to keep geese, and other such 
country work," all the while much neglected by those who 
should have watched over him. It was not long, however, before 
he was removed from the influence of his grandparents, probably 


ill consequence of this neglect, to the family of his uncle, at 
AJthrop, an adjoining town. The change seems to have been 
not much for the better ; for Adthrop was "a little blind town ; " 
and while he there received more attention, and was somewhat 
happier and more contented, he learned to " sing and sport as 
children did in those parts, and to dance at their Whitsun-Ales,'* 
— amusements which were far more pernicious to childhood 
than " keeping geese, and other such country work." For 
these sports were not the innocent plays and recreations of chil- 
dren among themselves, which all persons, even the Puritans, 
morose and gloomy as they are (falsely) represented to have 
been, must have approved ; but those demoralizing wakes, mor- 
ris dances, May games, revels, etc., recommended and sanctioned 
by that abomination, " The Book of Sports," which James I., 
and after him Charles, " out of a pious care for the service of 
God," and desiring, with filial reverence, to " ratify his blessed 
father's declaration," ordered to be read in all the churches, for 
the " encouragement of recreations on the Lord's day." The 
common people were fond of these sports ; but the Puritans, and 
the more serious portion of the community generally, regarded 
them with strong disapprobation, not only as grossly profaning 
the Sabbath, but as being the fruitful source of drunkenness, 
debauchery, contempt of authority, quarrels, and even murders ; 
and efforts were made, from time to time, by the justices of peace, 
to have them suppressed, as highly prejudicial to the peace and 
good government of the country.* It is not strange, therefore, 
that Shepard, in mature life, should have looked back upon his 
early childhood, in which he was exposed to the corrupting in- 
fluence of these sports, as a season of peculiar danger, from 
which he was mercifully delivered by a kind Providence. 

When Thomas returned again to his father's house, which he 
did after the cause of his removal from home had passed by, he 
found all things changed, or fast changing, for the worse. His 
" dear mother " w^as dead, or died very soon after his return. 

* Neal, Hist. Purit. ii. 249. 


His sister Margaret, who was very fond of hiin, mamed her 
father's clerk. His sister Ann was married to a Mr. Far- 
mer. And to fill up the measure of bis griefs, his father mar- 
ried a second wife, who soon made him aware of the difference 
between his " own mother and a step-mother." She evidently 
did not love the little motherless boy, and endeavored to in- 
cense his father against him ; " it may be," says Shepard, 
meekly, '' that it was justly so, for my childishness." The neg- 
lect at grandfather's, and the " Whitsun-Ales/' at the " blind 
little town " of Adthrop, may have rendered the forlorn child 
somewhat wayward and troublesome ; but the probability is that 
the step-mother magnified and misrepresented every fault of the 
orphan, that her own little Samuel might enjoy a larger share 
of his father's affection. 

After suffering under this domestic tyranny for some time, he 
was sent to the free school in Towcester. But this was to him 
the school of " one Tyrannus," or of " Ajax Flagellifer." The 
master, whose name was Rice, a Welshman, was very severe 
and irritable ; and he treated the poor boy with such harshness 
and cruelty, as to extinguish, for the time, all love of learning, 
and to make him often wish that he might be a " keeper of 
hogs " rather than a scholar. " Bears," says Pliny, " are the 
fatter for beating." But this is not always or altogether true 
of boys, especially of such boys as Thomas Shepard, who, it is 
presumed, rarely needed chastisement, and was more likely to 
be injured than benefited by severity. "The fierce, Orbilian 
way of treating children, too commonly used in schools, is a 
dreadful curse of God upon our miserable offspring, who are 
born ' children of wrath.' " It is boasted now and then of a 
schoolmaster, that such and such a brave man had his education 
under him. There is nothing said, how many that might have 
been brave men have been destroyed by him ; how many brave 
wits have been dispirited, confounded, murdered by his barba- 
rous way of managing them. If a fault must be punished, let 
instruction, both unto the delinquent and unto the spectator, 
accompany the correction. Let the odious nature of the sin 


that has enforced the correction be declared, and let nothing 
be done in a passion ; let all be done with all the evidence of 
compassion that may be.* 

William Shepard — the ftither — died when Thomas was 
about ten years of age. During his last sickness, which was 
short and very distressing, the oppressed and dispirited child, 
to whom life had begun to present its sternest realities, prayed 
passionately for his recovery ; and he made a solemn resolution 
to serve God better than he had done, if his prayers might be 
answered ; " as knowing that I should be left alone if he were 
gone. Yet the Lord took him away by death, and I w^as left 
fatherless and motherless, when I was about ten years old." 
It is not to be inferred from these prayers, that at this early age 
he entertained any hope that he was a Christian ; for children 
who have been religiously educated will often, under the press- 
ure of affliction, pray very earnestly for relief; but from the 
fact that he made a solemn covenant " to serve God better,'' if 
his father might recover, we may presume that he had been 
under very serious impressions, and had tried to maintain a 
kind of religion in his life. 

Upon the death of his father, he was committed to the care of 
his mother-in-law, who, in consideration of his portion of one 
hundred pounds, agreed to maintain and educate him. But he 
was still doomed to be "much neglected," and to feel more 
keenly than ever the difference between his " own mother and a 
step-mother." She, as was to have been expected from her 
previous conduct, proved faithless to her trust ; and at last his 
brother John — William being now dead — offered to take him, 
and, for the use of his portion, to bring him up as his own child. 
" And so I lived with this my eldest brother, who show^ed much 
love unto me, and unto whom I owe much ; for him God made 
to be both father and mother unto me." 

About this time the cruel Welsh schoolmaster died, and was 
succeeded in the school by a man of talents and of reputed piety, 

* Essays to do Good, pp. 172, 173. 


who was also employed to officiate as the minister of the town. 
Although he disappointed the expectations of the people with 
respect to his piety, and afterwards became an "apostate and 
an enemy of all righteousness," he seems to have been an able 
teacher ; for he succeeded in reviving or awakening in the mind 
of young Shepard — who had conceived such a disgust of study 
that he had rather " keep hogs or beasts than go to school and 
learn " — a love of application, and a strong desire to be a 
scholar. Under this new stimulus, he applied himself with great 
diligence to the Latin and Greek languages, in which he made 
rapid progress. He was studious, because he was " ambitious 
of being a scholar," and of enjoying " the honor of learning." 
At the same time he seems to have been, to a certain extent, 
influenced by some higher, if not a truly religious motive ; for 
once, when he was unsuccessful in taking notes of the sermon, 
he was troubled about it, and " prayed the Lord earnestly " 
for assistance in this exercise ; a fact which, at least, indicates 
a deep sense of his dependence upon God for success in his 
studies, and a feeling that he was bound to seek the honor 
which Cometh from above, as well as the " honor of learning." 
But whatever his ruling passion might have been, and what- 
ever may be inferred as to his religious state at this time, 
from his general seriousness, we know that he devoted him- 
self to the necessary studies with such diligence, and was 
enabled to make such progress in them, that before he had 
reached the age of fifteen, he was pronounced by competent 
judges to be fit for the university. 



Mr. Shepard enters Emmanuel College, Cambridge. — Devotes himself to 
hard study. — Neglects religion. — Becomes proud of a little learning. — 
Has the small-pox. — Effect of Dr. Chadderton's preaching. — Associates 
with dissipated young men. — Remonstrated with by religious friends. — 
Falls into a gross sin. — Effect of this sin upon his conscience. — Dr. 
Preston. — Deep convictions. — Distressing temptations. — Despair. — 

* Dawning of light. — Letter to a friend. — Increasing light. — Change 
of life. — Peace of mind. — Application to study. — Graduates with 

The brother of Mr. Shepard, having undertaken the care of 
his education, was anxious to send him to college. But proba- 
bly the expense of a collegiate course exceeded, at that time, 
his pecuniary means ; and the portion of one hundred pounds, 
of which he had the use, would hardly defray the charges of a 
residence at either of the universities. At this moment, so 
critical and decisive in the life of the almost friendless scholar, 
Mr. Cockerill, a fellow of Emmanuel College, Cambridge, and 
a native of Northamptonshire, came to Northampton upon a 
visit to his friends ; and having satisfied himself, by a personal 
examination, that Shepard was worthy of patronage, encouraged 
his brother to send him to Cambridge, promising to use his in- 
fluence there in his behalf. Other persons, connected with the 
university, interested themselves in this application, and although 
he was, in his own opinion, " very raw and young," he was 
admitted to Emmanuel College as a pensioner in the year 1619. 
During the early part of his college course, Mr. Cockerill, who 
had so kindly encouraged and befriended him, was his tutor. 
Thus this chosen vessel, forsaken of father and mother, and 
cast helpless upon the world was, by " a secret hand of Prov- 
idence," taken out of "that profane and ignorant town of 
Towcester," the " worst town, I think, in the world," and 
graciously provided for in Cambridge, " the best place for knowl- 
edge and learning," where he was prepared, by a severe 


discipline, for an arduous and important service in the church 
of God. 

Up to this period, although he seems to have been at times 
deeply serious, and to have been in the habit of praying 
frequently under the pressure of affliction, he was evidently 
destitute of a saving knowledge of the truth. During the first 
two years of his college life he devoted himself to hard study, 
greatly neglecting religion and the practice of secret prayer, 
(which he had hitherto observed,) except at times, when his 
early religious impressions revived with considerable force, and 
he was induced to pay some attention to the concerns of his 
soul. The effect of a little learning was what is often wit- 
nessed upon minds of his order. When in his third year he 
became sophister, he began to be " foolish and proud," and to 
exhibit himself in public as a disputer about things which 
he afterwards saw he " did not then know at all, but only 
prated about them." Time and more learning corrected this 
folly, and made him one of the humblest, as he was one of 
the devoutest of men. It would be well if he had more im- 
itators in the feelings with which he looked back upon this 
stage of his intellectual development. " There is nothing 
more lamentable," says Luther, in his Table Talk, '' than the 
pride and ambition of many young preachers, who wish to 
shine as logicians, rhetoricians, etc., and become so finical and 
obscure in their preaching, that neither the people nor them- 
selves know what they are about. A young lawyer, in his 
first year, is a Justinian ; in his second year he is a doctor ; 
in the third a licentiate ; in the fourth a bachelor ; in the fifth 
a student." 

But Mr. Shepard was not left to neglect the interests of his 
soul in his ambition to shine as a scholar and a "disputer of this 
world." In his second year he was brought near to the grave 
by the small-pox, which had awakened him, in some measure, to 
a sense of his guilt and danger. The preaching of Dr. Chad- 
derton, the master of Emmanuel College, especially upon a 
sacrament day, also produced a deep impression upon his 


mind. And a few months afterwards he heard Mr. Dickinson, 
in the chapel, discourse upon the words, " I will not destroy it 
for ten's sake," with a powerful effect upon his conscience. But 
these serious impressions gradually disappeared, and he unfor- 
tunately fell into the society of some dissipated young men, who 
endeavored to counteract and destroy all the influence of those 
pious preachers. He even, for a time, went with them in their 
time-wasting and soul-destroying amusements and pleasures, 
and seemed fast making shipwreck of faith and a good con- 
science. But he was not suffered to continue long in this 
thoughtless state. Upon one occasion, a pious student, with 
•whom he chanced to be walking, described to him " the misery 
of every man out of Christ," and faithfully admonished him of 
his guilt and danger. This awakened, and for a time checked 
him in his course of folly and sin. At another time he happened 
to be present when several pious persons were conversing upon 
the wrath of God, revealed from heaven against all unrighteous- 
ness and ungodliness of men, which they spoke of under the 
figure of a consuming fire, intolerable and eternal. This conver- 
sation revived and strengthened the solemn impressions which had 
been previously made upon his mind, and led him to resume the 
practice of secret prayer, as a means of escaping from that wrath 
to come which he so much feared. 

But he had not yet seen the evil of his heart, nor felt that 
conviction of sin which prostrates the soul before the throne of 
grace in godly sorrow that worketh repentance unto life. The 
effect of the conversations referred to soon wore off, as other 
serious impressions had done, until an event occurred which 
revived them all with overwhelming force, and made him feel, 
as he had never felt before, the need of atoning blood to cleanse 
him from all sin. The sin of Peter, and its immediate effect, are 
left upon the sacred record to show us the depth to which men 
may fall if left to themselves, — to encourage the penitent sinner 
to return with tears to the Saviour against whom he has sinned, 
— and to exhibit the riches of divine grace, which can rescue the 
soul from the deepest degradation ; and for the same reasons we 


record the fact which follows, earnestly admonishing the reader 
to beware of using it as an encouragement to sin, lest his " bands 
be made strong," and repentance be hid from his eyes. As the 
fears which had been awakened by the solemn addresses of his 
pious friends gradually subsided, Shepard again associated with 
the loose and dissipated students of his own and of other colleges, 
and frequently joined them in their intemperate carousals ; un- 
til, at length, upon a Saturday night, he drank so freely that 
he became grossly intoxicated, and was carried, in a state of 
insensibility, to the chambers of a student of Christ's Col- 
lege, where he awoke to consciousness late on Sabbath morn- 
ing, sick, and completely prostrated from the efifects of this 

The moral impression of a fall like this is very different 
upon different persons. Some of those dissolute young men, 
probably, thought of that night's excess only as a matter to be 
laughed about at their next convivial meeting. Not so with 
Shepard. Filled with confusion and shame by the recollec- 
tion of his " beastly carriage," he hurried away into the fields, 
and there hid himself, during the whole of that dreadful Sabbath, 
from every eye but that of God. The particular sin, however, 
which made him afraid, and drove him, like Adam, into con- 
cealment, not only awakened him to pungent sorrow for this act, 
but opened his eyes to see the exceeding sinfulness of his whole 
life, and the necessity of repentance for all his sins. It was a 
day long to be remembered, for it was the commencement of a 
new life. In that solitude, where he lay trembling like a culprit, 
" the Lord, who might justly have cut me off in the midst of my 
sin, did meet me wuth much sadness of heart, and troubled my 
soul for this and other sins, which then I had leisure to think 
of, and made me resolve to set upon a course of daily medita- 
tion about the evil of sin and my own ways." Let those who 
are disposed to speak lightly or scornfully of the early trans- 
gressions of eminent Christians, remember the bitter tears with 
which they were lamented and abandoned. 

But with all this trouble of mind, and compunction on account 

Lit'E OF THOMAS bllEl'AKD. XXlll 

of actual sins, he had not yet obtained a true selt-knovvledge, nor 
seen the hidden evils of his heart. To this deeper and clearer 
view of himself as a sinner, he was led by the preaching of Dr. 
Preston, one of the most able theologians and preachers of 
his time, who became master of Emmanuel College in 1622. 
Shepard, hearing the preaching of Dr. Preston spoken of as 
"most spiritual and excellent," by Samuel Stone and others, 
listened attentively to the instructions of this celebrated divine, 
hoping to find here that guidance in the way of righteousness 
which he so much needed. The first sermon which he heard 
from Dr. Preston was upon the words, " Be ye transformed by 
the renewing of your mind," (Rom. xii. 2 ;) in which the nature 
of a change of heart was clearly unfolded. Under this dis- 
course, "the Lord so bored my ears as that I understood what 
he spake ; the secrets of my soul were laid open before me, 
and the hypocrisy of all the good things I thought I had in 
me, as if one had told him of all that ever I did — of all the 
turnings and deceits of my heart." So clearly was he made 
to see himself, — his secret sins — the whole frame and temper 
of his mind, — that he thought Dr. Preston the " most search- 
ing preacher in the world ; " and with profound gratitude to 
God, and love for the preacher, he began in earnest to seek 
for that radical conversion and renewal, the nature of which 
had been so clearly exhibited to him. 

This new birth, however, was not to be for Shepard, as it 
appears to be in some cases, a speedy or an easy work. Many 
pass from a state of sin and condemnation to the light, liberty, 
and hope of the children of God, in such a way that their 
whole experience in relation to this change may be expressed in 
the words of the blind man whom the Saviour suddenly and 
by a miraculous touch restored to sight — "Whereas I was 
blind, now I see." But Shepard's conviction of sin had been 
exceedingly pungent and distressing, and his progress to a state 
of reconciliation and peace with God was rough, protracted, and 
painful. He was beset with fears of death and " the terrors 
of God's wrath." In his daily meditation, "constantly every 


evening before supper," he found the Lord ever teaching 
him something concerning himself, or the divine law, or the 
vanity of the world, which he never saw before, and which 
filled him with perplexity and overwhelming solicitude. He 
was also assaulted by sharp temptations. At one time he felt 
" a depth of atheism and unbelief in the main matters of sal- 
vation," — whether the Scriptures were the word of God, — 
whether Christ was the Messiah, — whether there was a God. 
At another time he " felt all manner of temptations to all 
kinds of religions, not knowing which to choose." At last he 
heard of Grindleton, and was in danger of falling into Per- 
fectionism, Familism, Antinomianism, or whatever that system 
was called which afterwards made such havoc in the infant 
churches of New England. He did not really adopt or beheve 
any of the absurd doctrines of the Familists, but only went so 
far in these " miserable fluctuations and straits of his soul " 
as to question " whether that glorious state of perfection might 
not be the truth," and whether old Mr. Rogers's " Seven Trea- 
tises," and the " Practice of Christianity," — books which were 
then esteemed as containing very sound theology, — " might not 
be legal," and these writers " legal men ; " a singular hallucina- 
tion, from which he was soon delivered by reading in one of the 
Familist books the astounding doctrine, that a Christian is so 
swallowed up in the spirit, " that what action soever the spirit 
moves him to commit, suppose adultery, he may do it, and it is 
no sin to him." This passage, like an overdose of poison, 
operated exactly contrary to its nature and design. Tempted as 
he was to " all kinds of religion," he could not digest this doc- 
trine of devils ; and the horrible absurdity of the proposition 
awakened in him an intense abhorrence of the whole system to 
which it belonged, which in after years, and in more critical times, 
rendered him a most determined and successful opposer of An- 
tinomianism., as we shall see in the progress of this biography. 
In the mean time, the other temptations by which he was led 
to doubt the genuineness of Christ's miracles, and, in short, the 
truth of divine revelation, continued with unabated, if not with 


increasing, severity ; so that, at last, having questioned whether 
Christ did not cast out devils by Beelzebub, he conceived the 
dreadful idea that he had committed the unpardonable sin, and 
was abandoned to hopeless apostasy and destruction. And now, 
"the terrors of God began to break in, like floods of fire," into 
his soul. He saw, as he then thought, in these rebellious 
doubts, and in this chaotic darkness of mind, the fruits of " God's 
eternal reprobation." He thought of God as " a consuming fire 
and an everlasting burning," and himself as a " poor prisoner, 
led to that fire." And these thoughts of eternal reprobation 
and torment so distressed him, especially " at one time, upon a 
Sabbath day, at evening," that he became well nigh distracted, 
and was strongly tempted, like Judas, to anticipate his doom, 
and, by suicide, hurry to his own place. 

During eight dark and dismal months, these " fiery darts of 
Satan " were incessantly hurled at his peace, and there seemed 
to be no help for his poor soul in God or man ; for he was afraid 
of God, and was ashamed to speak of these things to any ex- 
perienced Christian. Three things, according to Luther, are 
necessary to form a theologian — namely, study, prayer, and 
temptation. And doubtless Shepard's gloomy passage through 
this '• slough of despond " was necessary to give him a clear and 
an aflecting view of his misery and helplessness as a sinner ; 
to fix more firmly in his mind those doctrines which he was sub- 
sequently to preach ; to make him humble under the honor 
that awaited him, and to fit him to apply the promises of the 
gospel judiciously to distressed consciences. Like Luther, he 
learned the true divinity by being " hunted into the Bible " and 
to the throne of grace ; and he was eminently fitted to sympa- 
thize with the afiiicted, by those horrible temptations which 
almost broke his spirit and drove him to despair. At the same 
time, ,his peculiar experience, both in his descent into these 
" depths of Satan," and in the manner of his deliverance from 
them, tended to give to his preaching and writings, that " legal" 
aspect, which there will be occasion to speak of more partic- 
ularly hereafter. 

VOL. I. c 


His conflicts were now drawing to a close, and light was about 
to dispel the horror of that darkness in which his mind had been 
so long shrouded. When he was at the worst, not knowing what 
to do, and not daring to disclose his feelings to any person, it 
occurred to him that he should do as Christ did in his agony. 
The Saviour prayed earnestly, and an angel came down to com- 
fort him ; and this seemed to be the only way of relief. Shut 
up to this, he fell down in agonizing supplication, and " being in 
prayer, I saw myself so unholy, and God so holy, that my spirit 
began to sink ; yet the Lord recovered me, and poured out a 
spirit of prayer upon me for free mercy and pity ; and in the 
conclusion of the prayer, I found the Lord helping me to see 
my unworthiness of any mercy, and to leave myself with him, to 
do with me what he would. And then, and never till then, I 
found rest ; and so my heart was humbled, and I went with a 
staid heart to supper late that hight, and so rested here, and 
the terrors of the Lord began to assuage sweetly." 

To a. friend who afterwards inquired of him how the atheist- 
ical thoughts which had tormented him were removed, he thus 
writes : " The Lord awakened me, and bid me beware lest an 
old sore break out again. And this I found, that strength of 
reason would commonly convince my understanding that there 
was a God ; but I felt it utterly insufficient to persuade my will 
of it, unless it was by fits, when, as I thought, God's Spirit moved 
upon the chaos of these horrible thoughts ; and this, I think, will 
be found a truth. I did groan under the bondage of those un- 
believing thoughts, looking up and sighing to the Lord, that if 
he were as his works and word declared him to be, he would 
please to reveal himself by his own beams, and persuade my 
heart, by his own Spirit, of his essence and being, which, if he 
would do, I should account it the greatest mercy that ever he 
showed me. And, after grievous and heavy perplexities, wlien 
I was by them almost forced to make an end of myself and 
sinful life, and to be my own executioner, the Lord came be- 
tween the bridge and the water, and set me, out of anguish of 
spirit, to pray unto him for light in the midst of so great dark- 


ness. In which time, he revealed himself, manifested his love, 
stilled all those raging thoughts, so that, though I could not read 
the Scripture without blasphemous thoughts before, now I saw a 
glory, a majesty, a mystery, a depth in it, which fully persuaded ; 
and which light — I desire to speak it to the glory of his free 
grace, seeing you call me to it — is not wholly put out, but 
remains, while I desire to walk closely with him, unto this day. 
And thus the Lord opened my eyes, and cured me of my mis- 
ery ; and if any such base thoughts come (like beggars to my 
door) to my mind, and put these scruples to me, I used to send 
them away with this answer : Why should I question that truth 
which I have both known and seen ? " * 

To the period referred to in this extract the conversion of Mr. 
Shepard must be assigned ; but he did not at once obtain full 
assurance and a settled peace. The firm. earth upon which he 
had at length landed seemed to heave under him like the stormy 
sea w^here he had been so long tossed, and, for a while, he walked 
unsteadily and with fear. When his distracting doubts and 
dreadful apprehensions of God's wrath were gone, he still felt 
his unworthiness, his bondage to self and the world, his unfitness 
for any good work, and was oppressed with the dread of losing 
what God had already wrought in him. But walking, on one 
occasion, in the fields, " the Lord dropped this meditation " into 
his mind, with a distinctness and force which made it appear 
almost like an address : " Be not discouraged because thou art so 
vile, but make this double use of it : first, loathe thyself the more ; 
secondly, feel a greater need, and put a greater price, upon 
Jesus Christ, who only can redeem thee from all sin." This 
thought greatly encouraged him, and he was thus enabled to 
" beat Satan with his own weapons." 

His outward life was now wholly changed. He abstained 
from all appearance of evil. He no longer associated with the 
gay and the thoughtless ; and he felt it to be his duty, not only to 
exhibit an example of holy living, but to labor in all appropriate 

* Select Cases Resolved, pp. 44, 45. 


ways for the conversion of his fellow-students. So much progress 
he had made without any direct assistance from human instruct- 
ors, and without obtaining any assurance of his pardon and 
acceptance with God. He had been working out his salvation 
with fear and trembling, alone ; and although his face was 
toward Zion, and his feet in the way of the divine precepts, he 
needed, like ApoUos, that some one should expound unto him 
the way of God more perfectly, and to lead him to take those 
views of Christ, and of his redemptive work, which were neces- 
sary to a cheerful hope, and an appropriation of the promises of 

At this stage of his experience, and in this state of mind, Dr. 
Preston providentially preached a sermon upon 1 Cor. i. 30 : 
"But of him are ye in Christ Jesus, who of God is made unto us 
wisdom, and righteousness, and sanctilication, and redemption ; " 
in which he showed that there is in Christ an ample supply 
for all our spiritual wants, and that this treasure is designed for 
the benefit of all Christians. " And when he had opened how 
all the good, all the redemption I had, was from Jesus Christ, I 
did then begin to prize him, and he became very sweet to me." 
Although he had often heard Christ freely offered by ministers 
before, if men would receive him as their Lord and Saviour, yet 
he had found his heart " ever unwilling to accept of Christ upon 
those terms." But now Christ became precious to his soul, and 
he found it easy to comply with the conditions upon which all the 
blessings of redemption were promised. 

He was not, however, entirely free from all fears and doubts. 
But he found the Lord constantly " revealing free mercy," and 
showing him that all his ability to believe in Christ, and to 
accept of him, was in this grace of God. He saw that Christ 
obeyed the law, not on his own account, but to work out and 
bring in " everlasting righteousness " for poor sinners who had 
none of their ow^n — a righteousness which is sufficient to "jus- 
tify the ungodly who believeth in Jesus." He saw, also, that 
" to as many as received him, to them gave he power to become 
the sons of God," and he felt that the Lord had given him " a 



heart to receive Christ with a naked hand." And so, after 
many conflicts and questionings, he obtained that peace of God 
which passeth knowledge, and commenced that life of faith, 
which, as the shining light, shone brighter and brighter unto the 
perfect day. 

Although these religious exercises must have occupied a con- 
siderable portion of his time, and have rendered all human learn- 
ing and worldly honor comparatively worthless, yet he seems to 
have maintained a highly respectable standing in college ; and 
after the decided change which has been described took place, 
and religion began to shed its light and peace upon his soul, a 
rapid development of his intellectual powers became evident. 
There is nothing that gives such elevation, strength, and enlarge- 
ment to the mind as the practical reception of the word of God 
under the influence of the Holy Spirit. " The fear of the Lord 
is the beginning of wisdom, and the knowledge of the holy is 
understanding." Shepard, in common with many others, felt the 
invigorating effect of that heavenly knowledge ; and in after 
years, when young men consulted him with respect to their 
studies, he was accustomed to refer to this influence of religion 
upon his own mind, and to advise them to spend a considerable 
portion of their time in communing with their own hearts and 
with God, a practice which he had found so beneficial in all his 
intellectual efforts. Thus, at peace with God, — with a definite 
object of pursuit before him, — and in the diligent application of 
himself to all his studies, — he continued through the remainder 
of his college life. He took his bachelor's degree in 1623 — 
not far from the time, as we should judge, when he experienced 
the radical change in his religious feelings above described ; and 
in 1625, when he had finished his course of study, he left college, 
with a high reputation for scholarship, and with the usual honors 
of the university. 

c * 



Mr. Shepard goes to Mr. Weld's. — Sketch of English ecclesiastical his- 
tory. — State of England at the accession of Henry VIII. — Doctrines of 
the Waldenses. — WicklifF. — Remonstrance of the followers of Wick- , 
liflF. — Separation of the English church from Rome. — Henry VIII. be- | 
comes head of the church. — Act of supremacy. — Opinions of the peo- '^ 
pie. — Edward VI. — Origin of the Liturgy. — Mary and Elizabeth. — 
State of the nation. — Act of uniformity. — Court of High Commission. 
— Subscription enforced. — Era of nonconformity and separation. — 
Penalty for absence from public worship. — Distinction between Non- 
conformists and Brownists. — Nature of schism. 

Mr. Shepard became master of arts in the year 1C27. 
About six months before taking his degree, he went to reside in 
the family of Thomas Weld, (then of Tarling, in the county of 
Essex, and afterwards ordained the first minister of the church 
in Roxbury,) where he received much aid in his theological 
studies, and encouragement in his Christian course. Here he 
became acquainted with Thomas Hooker, who about that time 
was appointed a lecturer at Chelmsford, in Essex, from whose 
able and discriminating ministry he derived great advantage. 
While engaged in his studies and preparation at Tarling, he be- 
came " very solicitous what would become of him," when he had 
taken his master's degree ; for then his " time and portion would 
be spent," and he would be left without resources, and with small 
hope of finding any employment for which he was fitted. 

The religious condition of England, at that time, was very 
dark and perplexed ; and the prospects of pious young men, 
who, like Thomas Shepard, desired to serve God and their gen- 
eration in the gospel ministry, were exceedingly discouraging. 
Although the picture of those times has been often drawn, and 
the circumstances which compelled our fathers to abandon, not 
only the church in which they had been educated, but the coun- 
try that gave them birth, have been often and eloquently de- 
scribed, yet it may not be amiss to give, in this place, a brief 


sketch of the history of that gloomy period, that our youthful 
readers may clearly understand what it was that made Mr. 
Shepard so " solicitous what should become of him," and why he 
could not devote his talents and piety to the work of the minis- 
try in Protestant England. 

At the beginning of the reign of Henry VIII., who ascended 
the throne of England in the year 1509, the English church 
was a branch of that Papal hierarchy which had extended its 
power over the civilized world, and like the great red dragon 
of the Apocalypse, had swept away a large part of the stars of 
heaven, and cast them to the earth, rendering the skies black, 
and the night hideous. Dm-ing the long and tyrannical reign 
of that apostate church, however, there were a few faithful 
witnesses for the truth who testified and were persecuted, like 
Antipas, even in the region where " Satan's seat " was. In the 
valleys of the Alps, the Waldenses, uncorrupted by the errors 
and unawed by the power of Rome, retained the doctrines and 
observed the discipline of the primitive church. The history of 
these people is, indeed, somewhat obscure ; but from their own 
.declarations, corroborated by the confessions of some of their 
worst enemies, it appears highly probable that they could trace 
the origin of their churches back to the age of the apostles, and 
that their religious doctrines and practices were substantially 
those which long afterwards were adopted and maintained by 
the English Puritans. They rejected the books of the Apoc- 
rypha from the sacred canon. They kept the Sabbath very 
strictly. They were extremely careful of the religious educa- 
tion of their children. They denied the supremacy of the pope, 
the lawfulness of indulgences, auricular confession, prayers for 
the dead, transubstantiation, invocation of saints, and the worship 
of the Virgin Mary. They abhorred the mass, the doctrine of 
purgatory, and, in short, all the unscriptural ceremonies, super- 
stitions, and abominations of the Papacy. They committed the 
■pastoral care of their churches to ministers freely chosen by 
themselves, who were expected, in conformity to the apostolic 
injunction, to be examples to the flock, in word, in conversation. 


in faith, in purity, in charity. Their whole aim seems to have 
been to realize in their form of ecclesiastical government, and 
in the lives both of the clergy and of the people, that sanctity 
and godly simplicity which characterized the commencement of 
the church, and which were so beautifully exhibited in the pre- 
cepts and example of Jesus Christ.* 

Thus, three hundred years before the reformation, we find a 
company of sturdy reformers, who had never bowed the knee to 
Baal, — a remnant according to the election of grace, — who 
prepared the way and furnished the means for the final over- 
throw of " that man of sin," that " son of perdition," who 
" exalteth himself above all that is called God, or that is wor- 
shipped." They were the Protestants of the twelfth century, 
and were called Cathari^ pure, on account of the professed pu- 
rity of their doctrines and life, just as our fathers were after- 
wards in scorn styled Puritans, for their opposition to the errors 
and corruptions of their times. 

The reformation, w^hich many erroneously suppose to have 
commenced in the sixteenth century, was nothing more than the 
rejection of doctrines and practices which men, in the course 
of ages, had ignorantly or wickedly added to the religion of 
Christ. And this work was commenced by the faithful servants 
of God as soon as the evil began. The great Head of the 
church had never left himself without a few witnesses, at least, 
to testify against the errors that were constantly mingling with 
his truth. The Romanists ask, with an air of triumph, " Where 
was your religion before Luther's reformation ? " We answer, 
that in the darkest times of the antichristian apostasy, the true 
church, and the doctrines which Luther, and Calvin, and our 
fathers preached, were found among the Waldenses, three hun- 
dred years before the time of Luther ; and they were but the 
successors and representatives of still earlier reformers, who 
protested, with what strength th ey had, against the encroach- 
ments of the " man of sin." It was from these people that the 

* Mosheim, Eccl. Hist. cent. 12, c\x. 12. 


doctrines of the reformation were disseminated in England and 
on the continent ; and had it not been for them, perhaps neither 
Wickliff, in the fourteenth century, nor Luther, in the sixteenth, 
would have appeared as reformers. During the fierce persecu- 
tions to which they were constantly exposed, in the thirteenth 
century, from the Papal church, some of them fled into Germa- 
ny; while -Others, turning to the west, found refuge in England. 
Raymond Lollard, one of the leading men among the Waldenses, 
promulgated their doctrines in the land of our fathers, where 
they were called " Lollards ; " and where, from the fact that, so 
late as the year 1619, there was a tower standing in London, 
which, in consequence of its use as a place of confinement for 
those who professed their religion, was called " The Lollard's 
Tower," it would seem that they did not wholly escape the 
malice of that antichristian power which consumed their fathers 
and brethren, as heretics, in Italy. 

The doctrines held by the Waldenses were received and 
taught by John WicklifF, the earliest of the English reformers. 
WickhfF was born about the year 1324. He was educated at 
Queen's College, Oxford, in which he was afterwards professor 
of divinity, and was, for a time, minister of Lutterworth, in the 
diocese of Lincoln. He was a profound scholar, and an eloquent 
preacher. Though born and educated amidst all the darkness 
of Popery, he preached, substantially, the same doctrines which 
were afterwards maintained by the Puritans ; and one hundred 
and thirty years before the reformation, vindicated those great 
principles, which, under the preaching of Luther, Calvin, and 
others, enlightened the world, and produced that movement to- 
ward religious and civil liberty which must eventually be enjoyed 
by all nations. He wrote nearly two hundred volumes ; but his 
greatest work was the translation of the New Testament into 

Wickliff died in 1384. After his death, the university pub- 
lished the following testimony concerning him : " That from his 
youth to the time of his death, his conversation was so praise- 
worthy, that there never was any spot or suspicion reported of 


it ; that in his reading and preaching he behaved hke a stonl 
and valiant champion of the foith, and that he had written 
in logic, philosophy, divinity, morality, and the arts, without 
an equal." Without, however^ supposing that Wickliff was 
either immaculate in life, or absolutely free from theological 
errors, we may regard him as a bold defender of funda- 
mental truths, and the " morning star " of the reformation in 

In the year 1 425, after he had been dead more than forty 
years, the Council of Constance ordered all his works to be col- 
lected and burnt, together with his bones. This diabolical order 
was executed by Richard Fleming, Bishop of Lincoln, who 
caused the remains of the excommunicated reformer to be dug 
up, burnt, and the ashes to be thrown into a brook. " Thus,'' 
says Fuller, "this brook hath conveyed his ashes into Avon, 
Avon into Severn, Severn into the Narrow Seas ; they into 
the main ocean. And thus the ashes of Wickliff are the em- 
blem of his doctrine, which is now disseminated all the world 
over." * The number of his disciples increased so greatly 
after his death, that new and more severe laws were made 
against heretics, in the hope — vain as all such hopes must be — 
that force would prevent the spread of truth, and the dun- 
geon and the stake put an end to the efforts of Christians to 
rescue the people from the thralldom of error. Fox, the mar- 
tyrologist, referring to the posthumous persecution of Wickliff, 
remarks, " that as there is no counsel against the Lord, so there 
is no keeping down truth, but it will spring and come out of dust 
and ashes, as appeared in this man. For they digged up his 
body, burnt his bones, and drowned his ashes ; yet the word of 
God and truth of his doctrine, with the fruit and success of his 
labors, they could not burn, and they remain, for the most part, 
to this day." t 

About eight years after Wickliff 's death, his followers pre- 
sented a remonstrance to the English Parliament, in which they 

* Church History, b. iv. p. 171. t Acts and Monuments, i. 606. 


Speak of Romanism just as Shepard did, two hundred and fifty 
years later. They say that when the church of England began 
to mismanage her temporaUties, in conformity to the precedent 
of Rome, faith, hope, and charity began to take leave of her 
communion ; that the English priesthood, derived from Rome, 
and pretending to a power superior to angels, is not the priesthood 
which Christ settled upon his apostles; that the enjoining celiba- 
cy upon the clergy was the occasion of scandalous irregulari- 
ties in the church ; that the pretended miracle of transubstanti- 
ation runs the great part of Christendom upon idolatry ; that 
exorcisms and benedictions, pronounced over bread and oil, wax 
and incense, over the stones of the altar, the holy vestments, the 
miter, the cross, and the pilgrim's staff, have more of necro- 
Jiiancy than of religion in them ; that the union of the offices of 
prince and bishop, prelate and secular judge, in the same person, 
and making the rector of a parish a civil officer, is a plain mis- 
management, and puts a kingdom out of the right way ; that pray- 
er made for the dead is a wrong ground for charity and religious 
endowments, and therefore all the charities of England stand 
upon a wrong foundation ; that pilgrimages, prayers, and offer- 
ings, made to images and crosses, have nothing of charity in 
them, and are near of kin to idolatry ; that auricular confession 
makes the priests proud, and lets them into the secrets of the 
penitent, gives opportunity for intrigues, and that this, as well as 
the doctrine of indulgences, is attended with scandalous conse- 
quences ; that the vow of single life, undertaken by women in 
the church of England, is the occasion of horrible disorders.* 
These were sound doctrines, and well put to the reason and con- 
science of the Parliament; but they wrought no change, and 
rendered it no safer to preach or practice them. Persecution 
raged against the Lollards, — as all who desired a reformation 
of the church were now called, — under Henry V. ; but the 
more they were persecuted, the more they increased, and they 
sowed the whole of England with good seed, which, nourished 

* Collier, Eccl. Hist. i. cent. 14. 


by the blood of the martyrs, has continued to bring forth good 
fruit to this day. 

The first rupture between the EngHsh church and the Papal 
hierarchy, and the commencement of what has been called the 
reformation in England, were occasioned, not by a change of 
religious opinions either in the ruling powers, or the great mass 
of the people, but by causes purely selfish and worldly. Henry 
VIII., a man not only destitute of all personal religion, but 
possessed of all the vile and abominable passions which can de- 
grade humanity, wished to obtain from the pope a divorce from his 
queen, Katharine, that he might, with the sanction of the church, 
marry Anne Boleyn, who had been an attendant upon the queen. 
The ground which he assigned for this divorce was so absurd that 
even the pope, unscrupulous as he was in respect to other mat- 
ters, and strongly as he was inclined to grant the request of his 
powerful subject, could not be prevailed upon to sanction it. 
Whereupon Henry, not to be defeated in his cruel purpose, 
resolved to make himself the supreme head of the English 

His first act of retaliation upon the pope was a proclamation, 
iu which all persons were forbidden to purchase any thing from 
Rome, under the severest penalties. In 1534, being the twenty- 
sixth year of his reign, the act of supremacy, which took from the 
pope all authority and power over the church in England, and 
gave to the king all authority whatever in ecclesiastical affairs, 
was passed by the Parliament. This act declares that " the king, 
his heirs, and successors, kings of England, shall be taken, ac- 
cepted, and reputed the only Supreme Head of the church of 
England ; and shall have and enjoy, annexed and united to the 
imperial crown of this realm, as well the title and style thereof, 
as all the honors, immunities, profits, and commodities, to the 
Supreme Head of the church belonging ; and shall have full 
power and authority to visit, repress, redress, and amend all 
such errors, heresies, abuses, contempts, and enormities, whatso- 
ever they be, which, by any manner of spiritual authority or 
jurisdiction, ought or may be lawfully reformed, repressed, 


ordered, redressed, counseled, restrained, or amended, most to the 
pleasure of Almighty God, and increase of virtue in Christ's 
religion, and for the conservation of peace, unity, and tranquillity 
of this realm, any usage, custom, foreign law, foreign authority, 
prescription, or any thing or things, to the contrary notwith- 

This act was the commencement of what has been called the 
*' Reformation " in England. But it was not such an act as the 
state of the church demanded. It was conceived in sin, and 
brought forth in iniquity. It gave no relief to burdened con- 
sciences, nor freedom to the souls that were crying from under 
the altar. It made no change in doctrine, nor breathed any new 
life into the dead formalities of the old religion. It simply 
transferred the church, like a flock of sheep, from a rapacious 
pope to a brutal and licentious king ; and gave to a civil, instead 
of an ecclesiastical tyrant, the sole power of reforming abuses, 
heresies, and errors, without the slightest regard to the rights of 
conscience, or the laws of Jesus Christ. It was an act which, 
in banishing the pope, banished the King of Zion from his ap- 
propriate domain, and e^nthroned one who might be called literal- 
ly, a " man of sin," in the church, — for he was one of the most 
wicked of men, — authorizing him, as God, to sit in the temple, 
and to usurp the authority of God. It was continually fortified, 
and its provisions extended, by subsequent acts of Parliament. 
In the thirty-seventh year of this reign, a law was passed which 
declares " that archbishops, bishops, archdeacons, and others, 
have no manner of jurisdiction ecclesiastical, but by, under, and 
from the king's authority, the only undoubted supreme head of 
the church of England, to whom, by Holy Scripture, all author- 
ity and power is wholly given to hear and determine all man- 
ner of causes whatsoever, and to correct all manner of heresies, 
errors, vices, and sins whatever ; and to all such persons as his 
majesty shall appoint thereunto." * Under this law chancelors, 

* Neal, Hist. Purit. ii. ch. 1. Peirce, Vindication of Dissenters, pp. 7-9. 
Hume, Hist. Eng., A. D. 1534. 
VOL. 1. d 


commissioners, and other officers, never heard of in the primitive 
church, were appointed ; and, to secularize the church as effect- 
ually as possible, the king, in the exercise of his unlimited power, 
committed all the most important ecclesiastical matters to laymen. 
This exorbitant power in the political head of the church was 
confirmed in the reign of Edward VI., of Queen Elizabeth, of 
James I., and of Charles II. ; and until the reign of William 
and Mary, all clergymen were compelled to acknowledge it in 
the oath of supremacy — an oath which transferred their alle- 
giance, as Christians, from Christ to the King of England, and 
made them traitors to the cause which all true ministers are 
bound by a more solemn and stringent oath to defend at all 

Although the church of England was thus effectually sepa- 
rated from the church of Rome, and emancipated from the 
authority of the pope, the great body of the inferior clergy, 
and of the people, countenanced and encouraged by many lead- 
ing men both in the church and state, adhered firmly to the 
old opinions and practices; and although, during the reign of 
this capricious and cruel tyrant, there was much confiscation 
of church property, and persecution of Roman Catholics, there 
was but very little reformation from the worst corruptions of 
Popery. How could the church be purified by such a beast 
as Henry VIII., and by time-serving men like Cranmer, who 
were always ready to become the tools of a power that neither 
feared God nor regarded man? 

Edward VI., a youth of very different disposition and tem- 
per from his father, — of visible piety even, — ascended the 
throne in 1547. Under his reign some change for the better 
was effected in the condition of the oppressed and suffering 
church. Two of the statutes against the Lollards, and several 
oppressive Popish laws, were repealed, and others, more favora- 
ble to truth and liberty, enacted by the Parliament which as- 
sembled soon after the accession of the young king. A com- 
mittee of divines was appointed to examine and reform the 
worship of the church, who, finding the clergy generally incapa- 


ble of composing either sermons or prayers, set forth a book 
of Homilies, and a Liturgy for their use. This change in the 
worship of the church was the foundation of that uniformity 
which was subsequently established by the government, and 
exacted with such unsparing rigor by those in power, that 
many of the most pious and useful ministers in England, like 
Shepard and his associates, who had conscientious scruples 
respecting the propriety of some of these offices, were obliged to 
abandon the ministry, or, like the woman of the Revelation, flee 
into the wilderness, where God had prepared a place for them. 

Nothing can be more certain than that, in the first and purest 
age of the church, there was no such thing as a uniform liturgy, 
Avhich all worshipers were obliged to use and conform to. Very 
few forms appear to have been used for three hundred years, 
and those were not imposed upon the people by ecclesiastical or 
civil power. In those times Christian worship consisted of 
hymns, — prayers, — (which, as Tertullian says, were offered 
sine monitore, quia de pectore, without a prompter, because they 
came from the heart,) — the reading of the Scriptures, — and 
the celebration of the Lord's supper. It was not until the fourth 
century that set forms were introduced, and ministers were for- 
bidden to use any prayers in the churches except such as were 
composed by able men, or approved by the synods ; and even 
this innovation, as Shepard remarks, grew out of the gross and 
palpable ignorance of the ministry in those contentious and 
heretical times, and was enforced in order to j)revent the scan- 
dalous scenes which were common in churches where the pastors 
were incapable of preaching or praying to the edification of the 

By degrees, however, the worship of the church, which, from 
the beginning, had been very simple, notwithstanding the forms 
that had from time to time been introduced, began, as Burnet 
remarks, to be thought too naked, unless " put under more artifi- 
cial rules, and dressed up with much ceremony ; " and therefore 
various rights and ceremonies, better fitted to please the eye 


and strike the imagination tlian to promote the godlj edifying 
of the worshiper, were continually added. Still there was no 
universal uniformity of worship. Every bishop adopted that 
form which he thought best adapted to the times and to the tem- 
per of his own people. And this diversity continued until the 
Bishop of Rome, among other acts of usurpation, pretended 
that it belonged to the mother church to furnish a model of 
doctrine and of worship, to which all the churches in Christendom 
ought to conform. But even under the dominion of the pope, 
there was great diversity in the forms of worship, and absolute 
uniformity was never effected until it was forced upon the 
English church after its separation from Rome. 

The committee of divines who prepared the English Litur- 
gy under Edward VI. found a great variety of forms, and 
much diversity in respect to worship, existing in the church. 
In the south of England there was the Liturgy of Sarurn ; in the 
north, that of the Duke of York ; in South Wales, that of 
Hereford ; in North Wales, that of Bangor ; in the diocese of 
Lincoln, one which was peculiar to that see. The committee 
collected all these offices, — this " copper counterfeit coin," — 
as Shepard calls it, — ''of a well-grown Antichrist, whereby he 
cheated the churches when he stole away the golden legacy 
of Christ," — with the design of forming out of them a new 
Liturgy, which should be used in all parts of the country, and 
by every congregation. They thought that entire uniformity, 
both in doctrine and worship, was necessary to the purity and 
peace of the church ; and were determined that the diversity 
which had been tolerated in the darkest times of Popery should 
no longer be allowed in Protestant England. They attempted 
what was at once unreasonable, unnecessary, and impracticable ; 
and forged fetters for the people, which, if they did not crush 
the life of devotion out of the church, would one day be burst 
asunder with violence and universal tumult. Had they drawn 
up various forms for those whose feeble piety needed assistance, 
and left something to the judgment, discretion, and conscience 


of those who had begun to " breathe the pure air of the Holy 
Scriptures," the church might have been united, and New Eng- 
land remained for some centuries longer in the possession of 
its original inhabitants. 

The first service book, or Liturgy of Edward VI., was 
gathered from the Popish Breviary, Ritual, and Missal, with 
but slight alterations or improvements. They did not, says 
Burnet, mend every thing that required it, but left the office 
of the mass as it was, only adding to it that which made it a 
communion. While many of the Romish superstitions were 
omitted, some were retained ; the committee going " as far as 
they could in reforming the church," and hoping "that they 
who should come after would, as they might, do more." * They 
felt, honestly, no doubt, that it was a great advantage to the 
people to hear prayers in their native language, rather than in 
an unknown tongue. They wished to have the people united ; 
and aimed to convert Papists to the English church by a form 
of worship which should differ as little as possible from that to 
^ which they had been accustomed. Those who desired a real 
reformation did all that they could ; and those who were Papists 
at heart were satisfied to have a Liturgy which made no funda- 
mental change. Among other things, the vestments in which 
the Romish priests officiated were retained, against the judgment 
of many pious persons, who thought that these surplices, copes, 
and other rags and symbols of Popery, should be confined to the 
pope's wardrobe. It was urged that these garments belonged 
to the idolatry of the mass, and had been used to set it off with 
more pomp and show, and ought not, therefore, to be used in a 
church professing to be apostolical. But to this the reformers 
replied, that the priest's garments, under the Mosaic dispensa- 
tion, were white, and this seemed to be a fit emblem of the purity 
and decency becoming priests under the gospel. Moreover, it 
was said that the clergy were extremely poor, and could not 
afford to dress themselves decently ; and as the people, vibrating 

* Preface to the Liturgy of Edward VI. 

xlii LIFE OF tho:mas shepard. 

from the extreme of blind submission to the clergy, were inclined 
to despise them, and to make light of their sacred functions, if 
they were to officiate in their own garments they would bring 
the divine offices into contempt. These considerations were 
deemed conclusive, and so it was resolved that the use of the 
Popish vestments should be continued, and made obligatory upon 
all officiating clergymen.* 

A more thorough reformation of the church — a reformation 
which should leave none of the vain pomp and foolish pageant- 
ry of Romanism behind — a reformation which should make 
all the rites, ceremonies, and doctrines of the church conform- 
able to the rules laid down by Christ and his apostles, and 
suffer nothing to be required of men but what was clearly 
sanctioned by the authority of God's word — was needed ; and 
by many, even by Edward himself, greatly desired. And had 
those in power followed the light of the Scriptures, which was 
then beginning to shine upon the church, purging out the 
old leaven of Popery, and every thing in doctrine or worship 
which they themselves acknowledged was unscriptural, there 
would have been no dissent except among the advocates of 
an antichristian hierarchy. But, as Edward, in his vain efforts 
to realize his idea of a reformation, sadly complained, those 
bishops who ought to carry forward this work, " some for Papis- 
try, some for ignorance, some for age, some for their ill name, 
some for all these," were men "unable to execute discipline," 
and it was therefore " a thing unmeet for them to do." f 

It was lamentably true, as Mrs. Hutchinson, in her interest- 
ing Memoirs of her husband, finely remarks, "that when the 
dawn of the gospel began to break upon England, after the 
dark night of the Papacy, the morning was more cloudy there 
than in other places, by reason of the state interest which 
was mixing and working itself into the interests of religion, 
and which, in the end, quite wrought it out. For Henry 

* Burnet, Hist. Reform, ii. 75, 76. 

t Neale, Hist. Purit. i. 53. Burnet, Hist. Reform, ii. 69, 427. 


VIII., who by his royal authority cast out the pope, did not 
intend that the people of the land should have any ease of oppres- 
sion, but only change their foreign yoke for homebred fetters, 
dividing the pope's spoils between himself and his bishops, 
who cared not for their father at Rome, so long as they enjoyed 
their patrimony and their honors at home, under another head." * 

Under the reign of Mary, the sister of Edward, the English 
church reverted to Popery ; and Protestants, indiscriminately, 
suffered the most severe and unrelenting persecution. 

On the accession of Elizabeth, in 1558, all real Protestants 
in the nation entertained strong hopes that the work of reform, 
which was begun (with whatever motives) by her father, which 
was promoted to the extent of his power by her brother Edward, 
and which had been not only retarded, but reversed, by her 
sister Mary, of bloody memory, would be resumed and speedily 
completed. But all hopes founded upon the accession of a pro- 
fessedly Protestant queen were destined to be sadly disap- 

The nation was, at this time, divided into three parties of very 
unequal size : the Pcqnsts, the State Protestants, and a small, but 
continually increasing, number of truly religious people, who were 
afterwards branded with the name of Puritans. The great 
body of the people of England, says Macaulay, had no fixed 
opinion as to the matters of dispute between the churches. 
" Each side had a few enterprising champions, and a few stout- 
hearted martyrs ; but the nation, undetermined in its opinions 
and feelings, resigned itself implicitly to the guidance of the 
government, and lent to the sovereign, for the time being, an 
equally ready aid against either of the extreme parties. They 
were sometimes Protestant, sometimes Catholic, sometimes half 
Protestants, half Catholics. They were in a situation resembling 
that of those borderers whom Sir Walter Scott has described 
wdth so much spirit, — 

" Who sought the beeves that made their broth. 
In Scotland and in England both." 

* Memoirs of Colonel Hutchinson, i. 105. 



The religion of England was thus a mixed religion, like that 
of the Samaritan settlers described in the Second Book of Kings, 
" who feared the Lord, and served their own gods ; " like that 
of the Judaizing Christians, who blended the doctrines of the 
synagogue with those of the church ; like that of the Mexican 
Indians, who, for many generations after the subjugation of their 
race, continued to unite with the rites learned from their con- 
querors the worship of the grotesque idols which had been 
adored by Montezuma and Gautimozin." * 

All the English clergy, who were really Protestant at heart, 
made vigorous exertions, in the beginning of the reign of Eliza- 
beth, to separate the church more entirely from the influence 
of Popery ; but the queen, who controlled all the affairs of the 
church as well as of the state, was very differently inclined. 
Though educated as a Protestant, and professing, from her early 
years, to feel strong dislike of the Papacy, and love to the cause 
of truth, she was, in opinion, " little better than half a Protes- 
tant." She loved magnificence in religion as well as in every 
thing else, and, to the last, cherished a great fondness for those 
rites and ceremonies of the Romish church which her father had 
retained. " She had no scruple about conforming to that church, 
when conformity was necessary to her own safety ; and she had 
professed, when it suited her, to be wholly a Catholic." She 
always kept a crucifix, with wax lights burning around it, in her 
private chapel. The service of the church had been too much 
stripped of ornament and display to suit her taste, and its doc- 
trines were made too narrow for her opinions ; in both, therefore, 
she made alterations, to bring them into greater conformity to 
the Papacy. Instead of carrying the reformation of Edward 
further, she often repented that it had been carried so far. 
Accordingly she directed the committee of divines, who were 
appointed, in 1559, to review the Liturgy of Edward, to strike 
out all passages that could be offensive to the pope, and to make 
the people easy about the corporeal presence of Christ in the 

* Macaulay's Essays, i. 178, 179. 


sacrament, but to say not a word in favor of the stricter Protes- 
tants, a respectable body both of the clergy and the laity, who 
were anxious to bring the reformation to that state which Prot- 
estants abroad regarded as the scriptural model. 

In the year 1559, the Parliament passed an " act for the 
uniformity of common prayer, and service of the church, and 
administration of the sacraments ; " by one clause of which all 
ecclesiastical jurisdiction was again given up to the crown ; and 
the queen was empowered, with the advice of her commissioners, 
or metropolitan, to ordain and publish such other rites or cere- 
monies as might, in her opinion, be most for the advancement of 
God's glory, the edifying of his church, and the due reverence 
of Christ's holy mysteries and sacraments ; without which clause, 
reserving to the queen power to make what alterations she 
pleased, she told Archbishop Parker she would not have passed 
the act. The oppressive use that was made of the enormous 
power thus conferred upon a queen, who declared that she hated 
the Puritans worse than she did the .Papists, we see in the his- 
tory of those times. Elizabeth was resolved that all should 
conform to her worship, or suffer the severest penalties of the 
law; and she persecuted the conscientious Nonconformists with 
a cruelty which proved that her profession of hatred was sincere. 
She did not burn them, as her sister Mary did the heretics of 
her time, but she subjected them to hardships more terrible than 

In the exercise of her boundless prerogative, she instituted 
that engine of persecution, the court of " High Commission ; " 
and no less than five courts of this name were established with 
increasing severity. The power of these tribunals was brought 
to bear with terrible effect upon the Puritans. A great many 
faithful ministers were suspended from their livings, deposed, 
fined, imprisoned, and their families and interests ruined, for 
refusing to conform to the established ritual. They were fre- 
quently imprisoned without any previous complaint, and some- 
times without any knowledge of the charges upon which they 


were arrested ; they were refused bail, and often suffered a long 
and tedious confinement before they were brought to trial. 
They were not only denied the privilege of trial by jury, but 
condemned without being confronted by the witnesses against 
them. On the most insnaring questions, multiplied and arranged 
in the most artful manner, they were obliged to answer instantly 
upon oath, with the rack or the prison distinctly in view. The 
horrible character of these inquisitorial examinations is well 
described by Lord Burleigh, in a letter to Archbishop Whit- 
gift : " I have read over your twenty -four articles, formed in 
Romish style, of great length and curiosity, to examine all man- 
ner of ministers in this time, without distinction of persons, 
to be executed, and I find them so curiously penned, so full of 
branches and circumstances, that I think the Inquisition of Spain 
used not so many questions to comprehend and to trap their 

After the convocation of 1562 had framed the Thirty-nine 
Articles, and, by a majority of one, decided to retain all the 
ceremonies which had given so much offence to every real Prot- 
estant, the bishops began to enforce upon the clergy subscrip- 
tion to the Liturgy and ceremonies, as well as to the articles 
of faith. The penalty for refusing to subscribe was expulsion 
from their parishes. Three hundred ministers, of pious and ex- 
emplary lives, some of them eminent for their talents and learn- 
ing, refused to subscribe, and were deprived of their livings. 
L^n willing to separate from a church in which the word and the 
sacraments were in substance administered, though disfigured 
and defiled by some Popish superstitions, some of these deprived 
ministers continued to preach, as they had opportunity, in places 
where the ceremonies could be safely dispensed with, though 
they were excluded, of course, from all ecclesiastical prefer- 

Many of the common people were as strongly opposed to the 
use of the clerical vestments, and other relics of Popery, as the 
ministers, and, believing it to be unlawful to countenance such 


superstitions even by their presence, would not enter the 
churches where they were used. It now became a question of 
great interest and importance, for those who were quahfied and 
desirous to preach the gospel, as well as for those who wished to 
hear it in its purity, what their duty was in this posture of alFairs. 
In the year 1572, a solemn consultation was held by them upon 
this subject ; and after prayer and earnest debate respecting 
the lawfulness and necessity of separating from the established 
church, they came to this result : " That, since they could not 
have the word of God preached, nor the sacraments adminis- 
tered, without idolatrous gear, and since there had been a sepa- 
rate congregation in London, and another at Geneva, in Queen 
Mary's time, which used a book and order of preaching, admin- 
istration, and discipline which Calvin had approved of, and 
which was free from the superstition of the English service, 
therefore it was their duty, in their present circumstances, to 
break off from the public church, and to assemble, as they had 
opportunity, in private houses, or elsewhere, to worship God in 
a manner that might not offend the light of their consciences." 
Another question was discussed at this meeting, namely, whether 
they should use so much of the Common Prayer and service of 
the church as was not offensive ; or, since they were cut off from 
the church of England, at once to set up the purest and best 
form of worship most consonant to the sacred Scriptures, and to 
the practice of the foreign reformers. They concluded to do 
the latter ; and accordingly laid aside the English Liturgy alto- 
gether, and adopted the service book used at Geneva. This 
has been called the epoch of the Separation, as the year 1562 
was of Nonconformity.* 

In the year 1581, the Parliament passed an act imposing a 
fine of 20/. a month on every person who refused to attend the 
Common Prayer ; and it was not long before there was occasion 
to inflict this ruinous penalty. The afflicted Puritans appealed 
to the queen, to both houses of Parliament, to the Convocation, 

* Neal, Hist. Purit. i. 154. 



and to the bishops, but could obtain no rehef. Several ministers 
were imprisoned for the inexcusable crime of asking for a little ' 
relief from the rigor with which they were pursued to ruin, j 
Members of Parliament were sent to the Tower for speaking in i 
favor of the miserable Puritans. Bills, passed in the House of | 
Commons for their relief, were sent for by the queen, and j 
cancelled: and the Parliament was peremptorily forbidden to ^ 
meddle with ecclesiastical affairs. ' 

Wearied out with this unrelenting persecution, which drove so < 
many of the most useful ministers into obscurity, and discour- 
aged by the stern rejection of all their petitions for relief, the 
Puritans began to despair of any further reformation of the 
church by the ruling powers ; and in one of their assemblies 
came to this conclusion : " That, since the magistrate could not be 
induced to reform the discipline of the church by so many pe- 
titions and supplications, therefore, after so many years' waiting, 
it was lawful to act without him, and to introduce a reformation 
in the best manner they could." * 

That portion of the Puritan party, however, to which our 
fathers belonged, did not voluntarily and schismatically separate 
from the church, like Brown and others, who renounced all 
communion with the establishment, not only in ceremonies and 
prayers, but in hearing the word and sacraments, and refused to 
recognize it as a true church, or its ministers as true ministers 
of the gospel. The Nonconformists generally did not deserve 
the name of Brownists, which they sometimes bore through the 
ignorance or malice of their enemies. They doubtless agreed 
with the separatists in opposing the tyranny and superstitions 
of the hierarchy, and in maintaining their right to worship God 
according to the dictates of their consciences enlightened by the 
Scriptures ; but they did not acknowledge him as their father, 
nor, in fact, did they agree with him in principle. The final ex- / 
elusion of both parties from the parent church was brought about 
by the same cause, namely, the oppression which they suffered 

* Ncal, i. 303. 


from the bishops ; but sameness of origin is no proof of identity 
in doctrine. " No marvel," says Cotton, " if we take it ill to be 
called Brownists, in whole or in part ; for neither in whole nor 
in part do we partake of his schism. He separated from churches 
and from saints ; we only from the world, and that which is of 
the world. We were not baptized into his name, and why should 
we be called by his name ? The Brownists did not beget us to 
God, or to the church, or to their schism — a schism which as 
we have lamented in them, as a fruit of misguided, ignorant 
zeal, so we have ever borne witness against it since our first 
knowledge of it."* 

The truth is, that while the Puritans deprecated and dreaded 
separation from the church, and labored in all suitable ways to 
avoid the necessity of going out of it, there was an evident 
determination on the part of the ruling powers to get rid of 
those, whom, for fleeing from their tyranny, they condemned as 
separatists. It was the opinion of the stricter reformers gener- 
ally, that they might consistently retain their connection with the 
parent church, which they acknowledged to be a true church ; 
that the restraint of arbitrary human laws upon their privileges, 
and the imposition by such laws of corrupt members, canons, and 
v/ays of worship, destroyed neither their rights nor their Christian 
character ; and that since a separation was not allowed by the 
reigning powers, and the organization of purer churches within 
the kingdom was impracticable, they ought to remain in the 
church, groaning under their burdens, and laboring for her ref- 
ormation. But the reigning powers were very willing to have 
these conscientious people excluded from the fellowship of a 
church which they loved with all her faults. 

Archbishop Sheldon once said to a gentleman, who expressed 
much regret that the door was made so strait that many sober 
ministers could not enter, " It is no cause of regret at all ; if we 
had thought so many of them would have conformed, we would 
have made it still straiter." 

* "Way of the Congregational Churches, p. 10. 
VOL. 1. e 


The sin of schism, therefore, which has been so often charged 
upon our Congregational fathers, does not lie at their door. Laud 
himself, the greatest enemy the Puritans ever had, lays it down 
as a maxim, that " schism is theirs whose the cause of it is ; and 
ke makes the separation who gives the first cause of it, not he 
that makes an actual separation upon a just cause preceding." 
" They who talk so much of sects and divisions," says Locke, 
" would do well to consider whether those are not most authors 
and promoters of sects and divisions, who impose creeds and 
ceremonies, and articles of men's making, and make things not 
necessary to salvation the necessary terms of communion; ex- 
cluding and driving from them such as, out of conscience and 
persuasion, can not assent and submit to them, and treating them 
as if they were utter aliens from the church of God, and such as 
were deservedly shut out as unfit to be members of it; who 
narrow Christianity with bounds of their own making, which the 
gospel knows nothing of; and often, for things in themselves 
confessedly indifferent, thrust men out of their communion, and 
then punish them for not being of it." * 


Sketch of English ecclesiastical history continued. — Accession of James 
I. — Hopes of the Puritans. — Hampton Court conference. — No change 
in the Liturgy. — Conformity enjoined by proclamation. — James's 
speech to his first Parliament. — Bishop Bancroft's measures. — Puritans 
divided into two classes, Conformists, and Nonconformists. — Vindication 
of Nonconformists. — Story from Roman history. — John Hampden's 
refusal to pay ship money. — Grand result of persecution. 

The harassed and helpless Puritans had looked forward with 
hope to the accession of James I. He was a member of the 
Presbyterian church of Scotland and had often professed much 

* Letters on Toleration. 


sympathy with them in their afflictions. Not anticipating the 
change that would be wrought in his theological notions by the 
prelate's maxim, " No bishop, no king," nor dreaming of the 
effect which would be produced upon his " northern constitution " 
by the " southern air of the bishop's breath," they expected that 
he would at once relieve them of these burdens. He ascended 
the throne of England in 1 603 ; and whether he had always 
been a hypocrite, or whether he became intoxicated by the flat- 
tery of the hypocritical bishops, certain it is, that all the cheer- 
ing expectations of those who regarded themselves as his brethren 
in the faith of Christ, were at once blasted by the contemptuous 
and oppressive course which he adopted toward them. Upon 
his arrival in England, a petition, signed by eight or nine hun- 
dred ministers of the gospel, " his majesty's most humble sub- 
jects," praying, not for a " disorderly innovation, but a godly 
reformation," in the ceremonies and discipline of the church, was 
presented to him. 

This called forth a bitter attack upon the Puritans from the 
bishops and the universities, and produced a controversy, which 
after a few months was silenced by a royal proclamation, in 
which the king declared his attachment and adherence to the 
established church ; but graciously encouraged the petitioners to 
hope for a conference, in which the nature and extent of their 
grievances would be examined. This conference, or, as it should 
rather be called, the trial and condemnation of the Puritans, was 
held at Hampton Court, on the 14th of January, 1604, and hence 
called the " Hampton Court Conference." 

A very full and graphic account of this conference is found in 
Fuller's Church History of England. The king sat as modera- 
tor ; but in the discussion he became the chief speaker in defence 
of the oppressive proceeding of the church, and assailed the 
Nonconformists with much coarse, vulgar, and abusive language. 
The church was represented by nearly all the bishops and deans ; 
and Dr. Reynolds, Dr. Sparks, Mr. Knewstubs, and Mr. Chad- 
derton, men eminent for piety and learning, and held in high 
respect by the people, appeared in behalf of the Nonconformists. 


On the first day of the conference, the king made a sort of gratu- 
latory address to the bishops and deans by themselves, in which 
he expressed his joy that he had not, like Henry VIIL, Edward 
VI., and Queen Elizabeth, to alter all things, but merely to con- 
firm what he found well settled ; that he had been brought, by 
God's good providence, into the promised land, where religion 
was purely professed, and where he could sit among grave, 
learned, and reverend men, not as before, '■'■ elsewhere',' (not 
deigning to name poor Scotland,) a king without state, without 
honor, without order, where beardless boys would sometimes 
brave him to his face; and declared his purpose to be, like a 
good physician, to examine and try the complaints of the people, 
and fully to remove the occasions of them if scandalous ; to cure 
them if dangerous ; to take knowledge of them if but fri\'olous ; 
thereby to cast a sop into the mouth of Cerberus, that he might 
bark no more ; and if any thing should be found necessary to 
be redressed, that it should be done " without any visible altera- 

On Monday, January 1 6, the advocates of the Nonconformists 
were admitted to the conference, and the king made a " pithy 
speech," winding up with an address to these four opposers of 
conformity, whom he had heard were the " most grave, learned, 
and modest of the aggrieved sort^'' professing himself ready to 
hear what they had to object, and commanding them to begin. 

Dr. Reynolds. " All things disliked or questioned may be 
reduced to these four heads : 1. That the doctrine of the church 
might be preserved in purity, according to God's word. 2. That 
good pastors might be placed in all the churches to preach the 
same. 3. That the church government might be sincerely ad- 
ministered according to God's word. 4. That the Book of Com- 
mon Prayer might be fitted to more increase of piety. For the 
first, may your majesty be pleased, that the articles of religion 
concluded on in 1562 be explained where obscure, and enlarged 
where defective." And here the doctor referred to Articles 16, 
23, and 25, as needing revision. 

Bishop of London. (Bancroft.) " May it please your majesty, 


that the ancient canon may be remembered, Schismatici con- 
tra episcopos non sunt audiendi. And there is another decree 
of a very ancient council, that no man should be permitted to 
speak against that whereunto he hath formerly subscribed. 
And as for you, Dr. Reynolds, and your sociates, how much 
are ye bound to his majesty's clemency, permitting you, contrary 
to the statute primo Elizabethag, so freely to speak against the 
Liturgy and discipline established. Fain would I know the end 
you aim at, and whether you be not of Mr. Cartwright's mind, 
who affirmed that we ought in ceremonies rather to conform to the 
Turks than to the Papists. I doubt you approve his position, be- 
cause here appearing before his majesty in Turkey gowns, not in 
your scholastic habits, answering to the order of the universities." 

Tlie King. "My lord bishop, something in your passion I 
may excuse, and something I must mislike. I may excuse you 
thus far, that I think you have just cause to be moved, in respect 
that they traduce the well-settled government, and also proceed 
in so indecent a course, contrary to their own pretense, and the 
intent of this meeting. I mislike your sudden interruption of 
Dr. Reynolds, whom you should have suffered to have taken 
his liberty ; for there is no order, nor can be any effectual issue 
of disputation, if each party be not suffered, without chopping, 
to speak at large." . . . 

Dr, Reynolds. " The catechism in the Common Prayer 
Book is too brief, and that by Mr. Nowell, late Dean of Paul's, 
too long for novices to learn by heart. I request, therefore, that 
one uniform catechism may be made, and none other generally 

The King. " I think the doctor's request very reasonable, 
yet so that the catechism may be made in the fewest and 
plainest affirmative terms that may be. And herein I would 
have two rules observed. First, that curious and deep questions 
be avoided in the fundamental instruction of a people. Sec- 
ondly, that there should not be so general a departure from the 
Papists, that every thing should be accounted an error in which 
we agree with them." 


Dr. Reynolds. " Great is the profanation of the Sabbath, and 
content pt of your majesty's proclamation, -which I earnestly 
desire may be reformed." 

This motion was unanimously agreed to. 

Dr. Reynolds. " May it please your majesty that the Bible 
be new translated ; such translations as are extant not answering 
the original." And he instanced in three particulars. 

BishojJ of London. " If every man's humor might be fol- 
lowed, there would be no end of translating." 

The King. " I profess I could never yet see a Bible well 
translated in English. I wish some special pains were taken 
for a uniform translation, which should be done by the best 
learned in both universities ; then reviewed by the bishops, pre- 
sented to the privy council, lastly ratified by royal authority, to 
be read in the whole church, and no other. To conclude this 
point, let errors in matters of faith be amended, and indifferent 
things be interpreted, and a gloss added to them. A church 
with some faults is. better than an innovation. And surely, if 
these were the greatest matters that grieved you, I need not 
have been troubled with such importunate complaints." . . . 

Dr. Reynolds. "And now to proceed to the second general 
point, concerning the planting of learned ministers ; I desire 
they be in every parish." 

The King. " I have consulted my bishops about it, whom 
I have found willing and ready herein. But as suhita evacuatio 
is pericidosa^ so subita mutatio. It can not presently be per- 
formed, the universities not affording them." 

Bishoj) of London. " Because tliis, I see, is a time of moving 
petitions, may I humbly present two or three to your majesty? 
First, that there may be amongst us a praying ministry, it 
being now come to pass, that men think it the only duty of min- 
isters to spend their time in the pulpit. I confess, in a church 
newly to be planted, preaching is most necessary ; not so in one 
long established, that prayer should be neglected." 

The King. " I like your motion exceeding well, and dislike 
the hypocrisy of our time, who place all their religion in the 


ear, whilst prayer, so requisite and acceptable, if duly performed, 
is accounted and used as the least part of religion." 

Bishop of London. "My second motion is, that until learned 
men may be planted in every congregation, godly homilies may 
be read therein." 

Tiie King. "I approve your motion, especially where the 
living is not sufficient for the maintenance of a learned preacher. 
Also where there be multitudes of sermons, there I would have 
homilies read divers times." . . . 

Lord Chancellor. " Livings rather want learned men, than 
learned men want livings ; many in the universities pining for 
want of places. I wish, therefore, some may have single coats 
(one living) before others have doublets, (pluralities,) and this 
method I have observed in bestowing the king's benefices." 

Bishop of London. " I commend your honorable care that 
way, but a doublet is necessary in cold weather. My last motion 
is, that pulpits may not be made Pasquils, wherein every discon- 
tented fellow may traduce his superiors." 

The King. " I accept what you offer, for the pulpit is no 
place of personal reproof. Let them complain to me, if in- 
jured." ... 

Dr. Reynolds. " I come now to subscriptions, as a great 
impeachment to a learned ministry, and therefore entreat that 
it may not be exacted as heretofore ; for which many good men 
are kept out, though otherwise willing to subscribe to the statutes 
of the realm, articles of religion, and the king's supremacy." . 

Mr. Knewstiihs. " I take exceptions to the cross in baptism, 
whereat the weak brethren are offended, contrary to the counsel 
of the apostle, (Rom. xiv. and 2 Cor. viii.)" 

TJie King. '■'■Distingue tempora^ et concordabunt Scriptures. 
Great the difference between those times and ours. Then, a 
church not fully settled ; now, ours long established. How long 
will such brethren be weak ? Are not forty-five years sufficient 
for them to grow strong in ? Besides, who pretends this weak- 
ness ? We require not the subscription of laics and idiots, but 
of preachers and ministers, who ar« not still, I trow, to be fed 


with milk, being enabled to feed others. Some of them are 
strong enough, if not headstrong; conceiving themselves able 
enough to teach him who last spake for them, and all the bishops 
in the land." 

J/r. Kneivstuhs. " It is questionable whether the church hath 
power to institute an outward significant sign." 

Bishop of London. '• The cross in baptism is not used other- 
wise than a ceremony." . . . 

The King. " I am exceeding well satisfied on this point, but 
would be acquainted about the antiquity of the use of the cross." 

Dr. Reynolds. " It hath been used ever since the apostles' 
time. But the question is, how ancient the use thereof hath 
been in baptism." 

Dean of Westminster. " It appears out of Tertullian, Cyprian, 
and Origen, that it was used in immortali lavacro." 

Bishop of Winchester. " In Constantine's time it was used 
in baptism." 

The King. " If so, I see no reason but we may continue 
it." . . . 

Mr. Knewstuhs. " If the church hath such a power, the great- 
est scruple is, how far the ordinance of the church bindeth, with- 
out impeaching Christian liberty." 

The King. " I will not argue that point with you, but answer 
as kings in Parliament, Le roy s'avisera. This is like Mr. 
John Black, a beardless boy, who told me, the last conference in 
Scotland, that he would hold conformity with his majesty in 
matters of doctrine, but every man for ceremonies was to be left 
to his own liberty. But I will have none of that. I will have 
one doctrine, one discipline, one religion, in substance and cere- 
mony. Never speak more to that point, how far you are bound 
to obey." 

Dr. Reynolds. " Would that the cross, being superstitiously j 
abused in Popery, were abandoned, as the brazen serpent wasj 
stamped to powder by Hezekiah, because abused to idolatry." 

The King. " Inasmuch as the cross was abused to supersti-^ 
tion in time of Popery, it doth plainly imply that it was well 



used before. I detest tlieir courses, who peremptorily disallow 
of all things which have been abused in Popery, and know not 
how to answer the objections of the Papists when they charge us 
with novelties, but by telling them we retain the primitive use 
of things, and only forsake their novel corruptions. Secondly, 
no resemblance between the brazen serpent — a material, visible 
sign — and the sign of the cross made in the air. Thirdly, 
Papists, as I am informed, never did ascribe any spiritual grace 
to the cross in baptism. Lastly, moMrial crosses, to which the 
people fell down in time of Popery, (as the idolatrous Jews to the 
brazen serpent,) are already demolished, as you desire." 

Mr. Knewstubs. " I take exception at the wearing of the sur- 
plice, a kind of garment used by the priests of Isis." 

The King. " I did not think, till of late, it had been borrowed 
from the heathen, because commonly called a rag of Popery. 
Seeing now we border not upon heathens, neither are any of 
them conversant with, or commorant among us, thereby to be 
confirmed in paganism, I see no reason but for comeliness' sake 
it may be retained." ... 

Dr. Reynolds. " I desire, that according to certain provin- 
cial constitutions, the clergy may have meetings every three 

The King. " If you aim at a Scottish Presbytery, it agreeth 
as well with monarchy as God and the devil. Then Jack, and 
Tom, and Will, and Dick shall meet and censure me and my 
council. Therefore I reiterate my former speech, Le roy s'avi- 
sera : stay, I pray, fen- one seven years, before you demand, and 
then if you find me grow pursy and fat, I may perchance hearken 
unto you, for that government will keep me in breath, and give 
me work enough. . . . I shall here speak of one matter more, 
somewhat out of order, but it skilleth not. Dr. Reynolds, you 
have often spoken for my supremacy, and it is well. But know 
you any here, or elsewhere, who like of the present government 
ecclesiastical, and dislike my supremacy ? " 

Dr. Reynolds. " I know none." 

The King. ..." My lords the bishops, I may thank you 


that these men plead thus for my supremacy. They think they 
can not make good their party against you but by appealing unto 
it ; but if once you were out, and they in, I know what would 
become of my supremacy ; for. No Bishop, no King. I have 
learnt of what cut they have been, who, preaching before me 
since my coming into England, passed over with silence my 
being supreme governor in causes ecclesiastical. Well, doctor, 
have you any thing else to say ? " 

Dr. Reynolds. " No more, if it please your majesty." 

The King. " If this be all your party hath to say, I will 
make them conform themselves, or else I will harry them out of 
the land, or else do worse." 

Here ended the second day's conference. The third was held 
on the Wednesday following. After some discourse between the 
king, the bishops, and the lords respecting the proceedings of 
the Court of High Commission, the four Nonconformists were 
called in, and such alterations in the Liturgy as the bishops, by 
the advice of the king, had made, were read to them, and to 
which their silence was taken for consent. 

The King. " I see the exceptions against the Communion 
Book are matters of weakness ; therefore, if the persons reluctant 
be discreet, they will be won betimes, and by good persuasions : 
if indiscreet, better they were removed, for by their factions 
many are driven to be Papists. From you. Dr. Reynolds, and 
your associates, I expect obedience and humility, (the marks of 
honest and good men,) and that you would persuade others 
abroad by your example." 

D7\ Reynolds. " We here do promise to perform all duties to 
bishops as revered fathers, and to join with them against the 
common adversary, for the quiet of the church." 

3Ir. Chadderton. " I request that the wearing of the surplice 
and the cross in baptism may not be urged on some godly 
ministers in Lancashire, fearing, if forced unto them, many, won 
by their preaching of the gospel, will revolt to Popery." 

The King. " It is not my purpose, and I dare say it is not 
the bishop's intent, presently, and out of hand, to enforce these 


things, without fatherly admonitions, conferences, and persua- 
sions, premised/' . . . 

Mr, Knewstubs. " I request the Hke favor of forbearance to 
some honest ministers in Suffolk. For it will make much against 
their credit in the country to be now forced to the surplice and 
cross in baptism." 

Archbishop of Canterbury. " Nay, sir." 

The King. " Let me alone to answer him. vSir, you show 
yourself an uncharitable man. We have here taken pains, and, 
in the end, have concluded on unity and uniformity, and you, 
forsooth, must prefer the credits of a few private men be- 
fore the peace of the church. This is just the Scotch argu- 
ment, when any thing was concluded which disliked some hu- 
mors. Let them either conform themselves shortly, or they 
shall hear." * . . . 

After a few words respecting ambuling and sitting communion, 
this famous — if it should not rather be called infamous — con- 
ference ended ; and with it all the hopes which the Puritans 
had cherished of relief from the intolerable bondage in which 
they were held by the bishops. Fuller remarks, that in this 
conference some thought that James "went above himself;" that 
the Bishop of London, the violent Bancroft, "appeared even 
with himself;" and that Dr. Reynolds "fell much beneath him- 
self." But we must remember that the report of those proceed- 
ings was originally made by a professed enemy of the Puritan 
divines, who was as much inclined to flatter the pedantic vanity 
of the king, and to glorify the bishops, as he was to misrepresent 
the character and the arguments of those whom he hated. 
" When the Israelites go down to the Philistines to whet all their 
iron tools, no wonder if they set a sharp edge on their own, and 
a blunt one on their enemies' weapons," as Fuller charitably 
observes. The Archbishop of Canterbury went so far as to 
declare his belief that his majesty spoke by the especial assistance 
of God's Spirit; and Bancroft "appeared only even with him- 

* Fuller's Church History, book x. pp. 7-21. 


self," Avhen he exclaimed, " I protest that my heart melteth with 
joy, that Almighty God, of his singular mercy, hath given us 
such a king, as, since Christ's time, the like hath not been." 
But Sir J. Harrington, who was present, remarked, in reference 
to the archbishop's blasphemous flattery, that the spirit by which 
that king spoke was " rather foul mouthed ; " that he used 
expressions which it would not be decent to repeat ; and that 
he resorted to abuse rather than argument, bidding the petition- 
ers to " away with their sniveling." James himself, in a letter to 
some nameless Scotch correspondent, describes the part he played 
in the conference in the following style : " We have kept such 
a revell with the Puritans here this two days as was never heard 
the like. Quhaire I have pepered them as soundlie as yee have 
done the Papists thaire. It were no reason, that those that will 
refuse the airy sign of the cross after baptism should have their 
purses stuffed with any more solid and substantial crosses. 
I have such a book of theirs as may well convert infidels, but it 
shall never convert me, except by turning me more earnestly 
against thayme." 

We can see clearly enough through all the clouds of prejudice 
and passion in which that scene fias been enveloped, that the 
demands of the Puritans were perfectly reasonable, and pre- 
sented in the humblest and most unobjectionable manner ; while 
on the part of the king and the bishops, there was not even the 
appearance of a desire to heal the divisions of the church by 
modifying the arbitrary and tyrannical measures which produced 
them, but, on the contrary, a manifest determination to make the 
Puritans conform to every thing contained in a semi-Popish Lit- 
urgy, or, as James himself once called it, "an ill-said mass in 
English," by the terror of fines, imprisonment, and banishment 
from their country. This conference seems to have been a prov- 
idential opportunity for healing the distractions of the church, i 
and of establishing a true Christian union upon the basis of God's 
word. But it was wickedly lost through the worldly policy of 
the bishops, and the arbitrary principles and cowardice of the 
king, who flattered the hierarchy to secure its support of thel 


throne, and feared the Puritans for their resistance to his sov- 
ereign will. Had the ruling powers at this time followed the 
advice of some of the wisest and most pious divines in their own 
church, or the example of the reformers abroad who took the 
Scriptures, and not a corrupt tradition, for their guide in the work 
of reformation, they might have prevented a division as disgrace- 
ful as it was disastrous in its consequences to them. 

But they, in their blindness, deemed it best to retain every 
thing which troubled the consciences of the most devout portion 
of the church. The only good thing done by them at this con- 
ference was, consenting to a new translation of the Bible, or 
rather a careful revision and comparison of all the translations 
then in use. A very few trifling alterations in the prescribed 
service were agreed upon by the king and the bishops ; and then 
a royal proclamation was issued, commanding all the people to 
conform to the doctrines and discipline of the established 
church, as the only form to be tolerated in the kingdom, and 
admonishing the malcontents not to expect any further alteration 
or relief. The Common Prayer Book was accordingly printed, 
with these inconsiderable amendments, and the proclamation 
prefixed, like the cherubim with flaming sword guarding the tree 
of life. 

James opened his first Parliament with a characteristic 
speech, in which he acknowledged the Romish church to be 
'" our Mother Church," and professed his willingness to meet 
the Papists half way, for the sake of bringing about a union of 
the Iv.o religions, at the same time denouncing the Puritans as a 
" sect insufferable in any well-governed commonwealth." The 
convocation, which sat at the same time, were very active in 
laying snares, and preparing weapons, for the unfortunate sect 
thus placed under the curse of the realm. They drew up a 
book of one hundred and forty canons, according to which, sus- 
pension and deprivation being regarded as too light a punish- 
ment for the enormous sin of Nonconformity, all who refused to 
conform were, ipso facto, excommunicated and cast out, as hea- 
then and publicans, from the fellowship and protection of both 
VOL. I. f 


church and state. By these canons all Nonconformists were 
rendered incapable of bringing actions at law for the recovery 
of their legal debts ; were, by process of the civil courts, to be 
imprisoned for life, or until they should give satisfaction to the 
church ; were to be exposed to every form of temporal evil in 
this world, and to be denied Christian burial after death ; and if 
the power of the bishops had extended into the other world, 
would have been eternally excluded from the fellowship of just 
men made perfect. These canons were ratified by the king, 
who, at the same time, commanded that they should be dili- 
gently observed and executed ; that every parish minister should 
read them over oace every year in his church, before divine 
service ; and that all persons having ecclesiastical jurisdiction 
should see them put in execution, and not fail to inflict the full 
penalty upon every one who should purposely violate or neglect 

On the death of Archbishop "Whitgift, who, though an enemy 
and a persecutor of the Puritans, was, comparatively, a moder- 
ate man, Bancroft, Bishop of London, who was the most irasci- 
ble and abusive speaker, next to the king, in the Hampton Court 
conference, succeeded to the archiepiscopal chair. Bancroft 
was a man of a savage temper and most arbitrary principles ; 
and what Whitgift strove to accomplish by comparatively mild 
measures, he resolved to do at once by an exterminating rigor. 
He revived the persecution with such severity that, in 1605, the 
year of Mr. Shepard's birth, about three hundred ministers were 
silenced, turned out from their parishes, or otherwise punished, 
for refusing subscription ; and yet of the sufferers in eight bish- 
oprics, no account was taken. These ministers had preached in 
the church from ten to thirty years ; and, in many churches, the 
ceremonies had been laid aside for a long time. Some of these 
ministers were excommunicated and imprisoned, and others 
forced into exile — "harried out of the kingdom," as James 
insolently threatened they should be, if they did not conform. 

* Bennet, Mem. ch. iii. Neal, Hist. Purit. i. 422. 


Under the intolerant measures now adopted and inflexibly ad- 
hered to, many good men strove to conform, and succeeded in 
convincing themselves that they were doing God service in 
conforming to the established order. Hence those who most 
earnestly desired to see a thorough reformation of the church 
were divided into two parties, distinguished at the time, and 
well known since, as Conformists and Nonconformists. Of the 
first class was Dr. Reynolds, who, at the Hampton Court con- 
ference, solemnly promised " to perform all duties to bishops, as 
reverend fathers, and to join with them against the common ad- 
versary, for the quiet of the church." Dr. Sparks, also, another 
of the representatives of Puritanism in that unhappy confer- 
ence, to which the petitioners were called, " not to have their 
scruples removed," but to hear the king's " pleasure propound- 
ed," went home a convert to the doctrine of the bishops, and 
soon after published a Treatise of Unity and Uniformity. 
" Henceforward," says Fuller, " many cripples in conformity were 
cured of their former halting therein, and those who knew not 
their own, till they knew the king's mind, in this matter, for the 
future, quietly digested the ceremonies of the church." Of the 
latter class were our Congregational fathers, who were willing to 
suffer the loss of all things rather than conform to a ritual of 
human origin, imposed with irresistible human power. 

It has been often urged, in reproach of the Nonconformists, 
that while they cordially consented to the doctrines of the church, 
which were the only essential things, they obstinately refused to 
perform a few ceremonies, which were in themselves indifferent ; 
and professing to honor the church as their " dear mother," 
blindly fled from her communion, and put her very existence in 
jeopardy for the sake of getting rid of an " airy cross," and 
some genuflections which could do no one any harm. 

There would be some appearance of justice in this charge, if 
the ceremonies in question had been regarded, at that time, by any 
party, as indifferent things. But nothing is more evident than 
that both the government and the Puritans considered the ques- 
tion of absolute and universal conformity a question of life and 


death. The only ground upon which tlie church can be in any 
degree justified in its unyielding demands is, that she regarded 
every part of the prescribed Liturgy essential. If those rites 
and ceremonies were, in the judgment of the government, really 
indifferent matters, it was most unjust and cruel on their part to 
command every adult person in England to practice them against 
the scruples of even a weak conscience, upon pain of ruinous 
fines, imprisonment, or perpetual banishment. It is said that Dr. 
Burgess, once preaching before King James, and touching lightly 
upon the ceremonies, related the following story, by which he in- 
tended to illustrate, in a quiet way, the inhumanity of the bishops 
in persecuting the Puritans : Augustus Caesar was once invited 
to dinner by a Roman senator, who was distinguished for his 
wealth, power, and magnificent living. As the emperor entered 
the house, he heard a great outcry, and, upon looking about, he 
saw several persons dragging a man after them, with the design, 
apparently, of killing him, while the poor fellow was begging 
most piteously for mercy. The emperor demanded the cause of 
that violence, and was told that their master had condemned this 
man to the fish ponds for breaking a very valuable glass. He 
commanded a stay of the execution ; and when he came into the 
house, asked the senator whether he had glasses that were worth 
a man's life. He answered, being a great connoisseur in such 
things, that he owned glasses whicJi he valued at the price of a 
pro.vince. The emperor desired to see these marvelous glasses, 
and was taken to a room where a large number were displayed. . 
He saw that they were indeed beautiful to the eye, but know- 
ing that they had been, and might still be, the cause of much 
mischief, he dashed them all to atoms, with this expression : 
" Better that all these perish than one man." The bishops, 
however, for whose especial benefit this story was told, were 
greatly enraged, instead of being convinced by the illustration. 
They thought the ceremonies worth the lives of a thousand men ; 
and they succeeded in getting the doctor silenced for daring to 
think otherwise. 

On the other hand, the nonconforming Puritans, if they 


could have regarded these things as indifferent in themselves, 
could no longer regard them as indifferent when they were im- 
posed by the state, under severe penalties, as essential to the 
acceptable worship of God. They did not object to the use of 
forms of prayer ; there were many things in the Common Prayer 
Book which they could use with a good conscience ; and if any 
latitude had been allowed, they would never have separated from 
the church. But they saw the mischief of human authority in 
relation to religious worship, and could not acknowledge that 
the magistrate had power to impose a body of mere ceremonies 
upon those whom Christ had freed from the bondage of the cere- 
monial law. " We reject," says one of those Nonconformists, 
" those forms of prayer and of public worship which are imposed 
upon the consciences of men by human power, as essential parts 
of divine service. Although as to the matter of them they might 
be lawfully observed, yet by the manner in which they are intro- 
duced, they become the instruments of cruelty, and occasions of 
outrageous tyranny over the best and most worthy sons of the 
church." * 

And when we remember that this book contained the only 
form of worship allowed in England, — that every part of it, 
without exception, was made a matter of necessity, and not of 
choice, — that not only the ministers were required to use the 
whole of it, but that every adult person in the kingdom was 
obliged to be present at the celebration of this service, and to 
take an active part in the worship by repeating a certain 
form of words, and performing certain rites and ceremonies, 
— the refusal of our fathers to conform seems not only defen- 
sible, but imperatively demanded by their higher relation to 
Christ. For, as Shepard well observes, the very yielding of 
conformity to such a service would " miserably cast away the 
liberty purchased by Christ for his people, inthrall the 
churches to Antichrist, and lift up the power of Antichrist 
in his tyrannous usurpation upon the churches of Christ." t 

* Apol. ch. vii. Q. 2. t Treatise of Liturgies, Preface. 


When Ilampclen, a few years later, resisted the illegal re- 
quirement of Charles I. with respect to ship money, and for 
a few shillings was willing to plunge the nation into a civil war, 
he was hailed as a noble champion of civil liberty. Why, then, 
should our fathers be branded as narrow-minded bigots, and 
wicked disturbers of the peace of tlie church, for refusing obe- 
dience to demands which no human governor has a right to 
make, and asserting a liberty guarantied by the great charter 
of the kingdom of God ? 

, But the Puritans did not consider the Common Prayer Book, 
in all its parts, a matter of indifference in itself, and to be 
resisted only because it was imposed by the secular power with- 
out warrant from the Scriptures. While they freely acknowl- 
edged ths^t God might be acceptably worshiped by forms of 
prayer, they regarded this particular book as unsuitable for public 
worship, and as a grievous burden upon their consciences. The 
grounds of their objection to the use of this liturgy were, that it 
was taken from the Eoman Mass Book, which had been the 
means, in their opinion, of filling the church with idolatry and 
superstition, and though purged from some of the greater 
abominations of the mass, could not be used without sanctioning 
the idolatrous worship of Rome ; that it claimed for human 
rulers unlimited power to decree rights and ceremonies for the 
church — a power which obviously belongs to Christ alone, as 
the Lord and Lawgiver of the church ; that it set apart many 
holidays, and instituted feasts which were enforced in the spirit- 
ual courts by civil penalties ; that it annexed human ceremonies 
to certain parts of worship which savored strongly of idolatry, 
and therefore not to be tolerated in the church, as the surplice, 
the sign of the cross in baptism, kneeling before the bread 
and wine in the Lord's supper, etc. Kneeling at the sacrament 
was especially otTensive to them, because it was a gesture re- 
quired by the Papists as an act of adoration, the object of which 
was the real body of Christ, supposed to be present in the bread 
and wine. " The mass," says John Drury, '• is the greatest idol 
in the world, and the act of kneelinor was brouorht in at the 


Popish communion to worship that idol. We ought not to 
symbolize with them in that act of worship ; we ought not to fol- 
low the coiTuptiqn of an ordinance when we have Christ's practice 
made known to us. 'It is not lawful to mix the acts of God's true 
worship with the chief act of an idol w^orship, such as is kneeling 
at the mass. For the meaning and purpose of kneeling is adora- 
tion ; the object of adoration is the body and blood of Christ, 
supposed to be in the elements. But if we believe no such real 
}>resence as they have fancied, then we make void the object of 
adoration, and consequently the act intended towards it is dis- 
annulled also." * 

We see, then, that conformity was not a question of mere ex- 
pediency, but of right and wrong, of obedience and sin. " We 
are not," said our fathers, " to dissemble with God nor men. 
Our separation were needless and sinful, if we did not consider 
conformity sinful in some degree. And in that case, to practice 
it is to tell the world, if sincerity be left among men, that we 
account it all lawful or tolerable to us, though not simply eligible. 
We therefore dare not, by practice, violate our consciences, and 
so destroy our .avowed principles. Nor will persons of any can- 
dor and Christian charity think this a humor of opposition ; for 
they know that among us have been, and are, men of sober 
minds and tried integrity ; men of good sense and learning ; 
men of great ability and usefulness in church and state ; men 
who relished also the comforts of their life and families as others 
do ; men who greatly valued an opportunity of serving their 
generation, and their dear Redeemer in the gospel ministry ; men 
v/ho would not for tritles expose themselves to poverty, contempt, 
obscurity, prisons, merciless fines, exile, and deatli itself. TIws 
were a humor indeed." t 

It is sad to contemplate the intolerant and oppressive measures 
adopted by one part of the church against another, and to wit- 
ness the calamitous effects which resulted from the persecuting 

* Model of Church Government, pp. 40, 41. 1648. 
t Letter of Nonconforming Ministers, p. 7. 1701, 


spirit of those times — the fines, imprisonments, banishments, 
deaths, by which the faith and patience of the saints were so 
severely tried ; but at the same time it is instructive and consol- 
ing to direct our thoughts to what time has shown to have been 
the ultimate design of Providence, in permitting those disastrous 
scenes to exist. A new world was to be created. A pure 
church was to be planted far away from the enormous corrup- 
tions and abuses of old Christendom ; and persecution was to 
people the wilderness with a chosen generation, — a royal 
priesthood, — who should worship God in the spirit, and magni- 
fy the divine law by holy obedience. 

The authors of the Epistle dedicatory to Shepard's Clear Sun- 
shine of the Gospel upon the Indians of New England have 
given a beautiful expression to this thought : " That God, who 
often makes men's evil of sin serviceable to the advancement 
of the riches of his grace, has shown that he had merciful ends 
in the malicious purpose which drove our fathers from England. 
As he suffered Paul to be cast into prison, to convert the jailer ; 
to be shipwrecked at Melita, to preach to the barbarians ; so he 
suffered their way to be stopped up here, and their persons to be 
banished hence, that he might open a passage for them in the 
wilderness, and make them instruments to draw souls to him, 
who had been so long estranged from him. ... It was the 
end of the adversary to suppress, but God's to propagate, the 
gospel ; theirs to smother and put out the light, God's to com- 
municate and disperse it to the uttermost corners of the earth. 
. . And if the dawn of the morning be so delightful, 
w^hat will the clear day be ? If the first fruits be so precious, 
what will the whole harvest be ? If some beginnings be so full 
of joy, what will it be when God shall perform his whole work, 
when the whole earth shall be full of the knowledge of the Lord, 
as the waters cover the sea, and east and west shall sino; together 
the song of the Lamb ? " * 

* Clear Sunshine, Preface, pp. 3, 4, 



Mr. Shcpard at Mr. Weld's. — Dr. Wilson's lecture. — Nature of a lec- 
tureship. — Mr. Shepard requested by the ministers of Essex to accept 
the lecture. — Lecture established for three years at Earles-Colne. — 
First sermon. — Method of preaching. — Effect of his ministry. — Oppo- 
sition arises. — Lecture transferred to Towcester. — Continues to preach 
at Earles-Colne. — Summoned to Loudon by Bishop Laud. — Interview 
with the bishop. — Silenced. — Character of Laud. — Studies the subject 
of conformity at Earles-Colne. — Laud comes into the County of Essex. 
— Second interview Avith the bishop. — Commanded to leave the place. 

Such, as has been described in the preceding chapters, was 
the religious condition of England, and such the prospects of 
pious young men who desired to devote themselves to the work 
of the ministry, at the time when Thomas Shepard was waiting 
at Mr. Weld's, in Essex, for his master's degree, " solicitous 
what would become of him." But while he was thus waiting in 
painful suspense, the Lord was in secret preparing a place and a 
work for him ; so that when he was ready and prepared to en- 
ter upon his chosen employment, he was unexpectedly called to 
preach the gospel under circumstances most favorable to his use- 
fulness, though not in a way to gratify a worldly ambition, or to ■ 
awaken hope of preferment in the national establishment. 
Just at this time. Dr. Wilson, a pious physician, a brother, it is 
supposed, of John Wilson, afterwards pastor of the first church 
in Boston, had resolved to establish a lecture in some town in 
that county, with an income of thirty pounds a year for its main- 
tenance — a lecture which Mr. W^eld and several other ministers, 
with the concurrence, as it appears, of Dr. Wilson, urged Mr. 
Shepard to accept, and to " set it up in a great tow-n in Essex, 
called Cogshall." 

In order to understand the position and duties of a lecturer, 
at that period, as distinguished from the office and work of a 
clergyman, it may be necessary to give a brief account of the 
nature of the lectures here referred to, and of the circumstances 


in which they had their origin. " Many parts of the connfr}^'' 
says Carlyle, " being thought by the more zealous among the 
Puritans insutficiently suppHed with able and pious preachers, a 
plan was devised, in 1624, for raising by subscription, among 
persons grieved at the state of matters, a tlmd for buying in such 
' lay impropriations ' as might offer themselves, for supporting 
good ministers therewith, in destitute places, and for otherwise 
encouraging the ministerial work. The oi'iginator of this scheme 
was Dr. Preston, a man of great celebrity and influence in those 
days. His scheme was found good. The wealthy London mer- 
chants, almost all of them Puritans, took it up, and by degrees 
the wealthier Puritans over England at large. Considerable 
funds were subscribed for this object, and vested in ' Feoffees,' 
who afterwards made some noise in the world under that name. 
They gradually purchased some advowsons, or impropriations^ 
such as came to market, and hired, or assisted in hiring, a great 
many lecturers. These lecturers were persons not generally in full 
priest's orders, being scrupulous about the ceremonies, but m 
deacon's or some other orders, with permission to preach, or 
* lecture,' as it was called, whom, accordingly, we find lecturing 
in various places, under various conditions, in the subsequent 
years; often in some market town, on market days, on Sunday 
afternoons as supplemental to the regular priest, when he might 
be idle, or given to white and black surplices ; or as ' running lec- 
turers,' now here, now there, over a certain district. They were 
greatly followed by the serious part of the community, and gave 
proportional offense in other quarters. In a few years, they had 
risen to such a height that Laud took them seriously in hand, and, 
with patient detail, hunted them mostly out j nay, brought the 
Feoffees themselves and their whole enterprise into the Star 
Chamber, and there, with emphasis enough and heavy damages, 
amid huge clamor from the public, suppressed them." * 

The lecture of Dr. Wilson, which jMj\ Weld and other Pu- 
ritan ministers of Essex were anxious that Mr. Shepard should 

* Letters and Speeches of Oliver Cromwell, i. 50. 


accept, was one of the kind here described. Of so much im- 
portance did they deem this lecture, and so much confidence did 
they feel in Mr. Shepard's piety, and ability to render it useful 
to the people, that they set apart a day of fasting and prayer for 
the purpose of seeking divine direction as to the place where it 
should be established. Toward the evening of that day, they 
began to consider whether Mr. Shepard should go to Cogshall or 
to some other town in that region. Most of the ministers were 
in favor of establishing the lecture at Cogshall, because it was a 
town of considerable importance, had great need of evangeli- 
cal preaching, and was, so far as they knew, the only place 
where it was especially desired. Mr. Hooker, however, objected 
to this place, on the ground that Mr. Shepard was altogether too 
young and inexperienced for such a work at that time ; and 
moreover that the clergyman of Cogshall was a cunning, mali- 
cious old man, an enemy' of the Puritans, who, although he was 
apparently in favor of having a lecture established there, yet 
would be likely to give a young and inexperienced man, like Mr. 
Shepard, a great deal of trouble ; remarking, in his quiet way, 
that it was always " dangerous and uncomfortable for little birds 
to build under the nests of old ravens and kites," 

While the ministers were actually engaged in discussing this 
subject, the people of Earles-Colne, a town in the same county, 
having heard that a free lecture was to be established some- 
where in the county of Essex, and believing that it would be a 
great blessing to that " poor town," sent a deputation to Tar- 
ling, where the ministers were assembled, who arrived just as 
the question was about to be decided, with an urgent request 
that the lecture might be established there for three years, that 
being the time to which its continuance in any place was limited ; 
because it was presumed by the founders that if the lecture was 
to be the means of doing any good, its beneficial influence would 
become manifest within three years, and then, if it was taken away, 
the people in a populous town would be willing to maintain it 
themselves ; but if, on the other hand, no good was accomplished 
in so long a time, it would be a waste of the funds to continue it 


in that place any longer. In view of this earnest, and, as it 
seemed, providential application, the ministers felt somewhat as 
Peter did, when, after anxiously meditating upon the vision he 
had seen upon the house top, the messengers of Cornelius pre- 
sented themselves, with a request which he interpreted as a 
divine intimation of his duty. They at once decided that the 
lecture should go to Earles-Colne ; advising Mr. Shepard to 
accept this providential call, and if, after preaching there a while, 
he found the people favorably disposed toward him and desirous 
of his services, to remain in that place during the time fixed for 
the continuance of the lecture there. 

Mr. Shepard saw clearly that it was his duty to comply with 
the advice of his friends. This appointment opened to him a 
door of usefulness earlier and more effectually than he had an- 
ticipated, without, at the' same time, subjecting him to many of 
those annoyances to which the regular ministers were constantly 
liable; and though the salary connected with this lecture was 
small, it was sufficient to enable him, for the present, to subsist 
with comparative comfort. It was a very hopeful undertaking. 
And it was no small honor for one who, in his own opinion, was 
" so young, so weak, inexperienced, and unfit for so great a 
work," to be called into this difficult service " by twelve or six- 
teen judicious ministers of Christ." He moreover regarded it 
as a manifestation of divine goodness, never to be forgotten, that 
when he " might have been cast away upon some blind place, 
without the help of any ministry" about him, or have been 
" sent to some gentleman's house, to be corrupted with the sins 
in it," the Lord should place him in the best county in England, 
viz., Essex, and locate him " in the midst of the best ministry 
in the country, by whose monthly fasts and conferences " he 
found much assistance and encouragement in his arduous work. 

Accordingly he resolved to go to Earles-Colne. After taking 
his degree of master of arts, in 1627, and receiving deacon's 
orders, "sinfully," as he afterward thought, of the Bishop of 
Peterborough, he repaired to the scene of his future labors. 
He was cordially welcomed and entertained by a Mr. Cosins, a 


schoolmaster in the town, " an aged, but a godly and cheerful 
Christian," the only person, indeed, in the place who seemed to 
have " any godliness," by whose counsel, sympathy, and coop- 
eration, the spirit of the young and timid preacher was greatly 
refreshed and strengthened. His first sermon was upon 2 Cor. 
V. 19, and was so acceptable to the people, that they united ia 
giving him a formal invitation in writing to remain and lecture 
to them agreeably to the terms of his appointment. From this 
unanimity and earnestness, so unusual in those times, he inferred 
that it was the Lord's will that he should labor in that place. 
Still he was fearful that he should not be suffered by the supe- 
rior powers to pursue his work in peace. In order, therefore, to 
avoid molestation from that quarter, he " sinfully," according to 
his own subsequent interpretation of the act, procured a license 
to officiate as a lecturer, from the register of the Bishop of Lon- 
don, before his name and character were much known — a license 
which, for a time, enabled him to preach without hinderance or 
suspicion on the part of the bishop and his officers. 

Mr. Shepard entered upon his work at Earles-Colne with 
great zeal. His sole object in preaching was, according to the 
commission given to the apostle, to turn his hearers " from dark- 
ness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God." In order 
to accomplish this end most effectually and speedily, he endeav- 
ored, first of all, to " show the people their misery ; " next, to 
exhibit " the remedy, Jesus Christ ; " and finally, to show " how 
they should walk answerable to his mercy, being redeemed by 
Christ." This course of preaching, accompanied, as it evidently 
was, by a sincere, earnest, and prayerful spirit in the preacher, — 
" the Lord putting forth his strength in my extreme weakness," 
— soon began to produce the most happy results. The people 
who had walked in darkness, and among whom there seemed to 
be but one man who " had any godliness," were enlightened in 
respect to the distinguished doctrines of the gospel, and many, 
both in Earles-Colne and in the region around, were converted. 
Among the most valuable fruits of his ministry were the two 
sons of Mr. Harlakenden, Richard and Sloger ; the latter of 
VOL. I. g 


whom came to New England with his spiritual father, and was 
of great service to him in his labors here. 

Such a ministry as this, lifting up its voice like a trumpet 
amidst the smooth preaching and dead formalism of the church, 
showing the people their transgression, and making them feel their 
misery, could not, at that period, be long tolerated by the ruling 
powers. " Satan began to rage." The commissaries, registers, 
and others, began to threaten the faithful preacher, taking it for 
granted that he was a " nonconforraable man," whose mouth must 
be stopped ; though at that time, not having studied the subject 
of conformity, he " was not resolved either way, but was dark in 
these things." But notwithstanding the violent opposition that 
arose on all sides, " the Lord, having work to do in the place," 
sustained him, " a poor ignorant thing," against all the threaten- 
ings of the commissaries, and the " malice of the ministers round 
about," and " by strange and wonderful means," kept him in the 
field until the work was done. 

When the three years for which the lecture had been estab- 
lished at Earles-Colne were expired, the people, having learnt 
to appreciate the blessing of a faithful ministry, were unwilling 
to part with the instrument of so much good, and at once raised, 
by subscription, a salary of about forty pounds a year, to induce 
him to remain with them. This unexpected movement satisfied 
him that it was his duty to continue his ministrations in that 
place ; and, as the lecture must be transferred to some other 
town, he used his influence to have it established atTowcester, — 
the place of his birth, — " the worst town in the world," in his 
opinion, believing that he could confer no greater benefit upon 
his "poor friends" there than by sending to them a faithful 
preacher of the gospel. Dr. "Wilson consented to Mr. Shepard's 
proposal, and Mr. Stone, afterwards the able colleague of Mr. 
Hooker, both at Cambridge and Hartford, was sent with the 
lecture to Towcester, " where the Lord was with him," and many 
souls were converted by his faithful ministry. 

Mr. Shepard continued to preach at Earles-Colne for about 
six months after the transfer of the lecture to Towcester ; when 


the storm, which had been long gathering, burst upon him, and 
drove him from his work in that place. Laud, having succeeded 
Bancroft as Bishop of London, began to look sharply after 
these lecturers, and to enforce entire conformity to the estab- 
lished ceremonies with a rigor beyond that of any of his prede- 
cessors. It was not likely that such a man as Shepard could 
long escape j)ersecution, when a very w^orthy minister was called 
before the Court of High Commission, and severely censured for 
merely expressing in a sermon his belief that the night was 
approaching, because " the shadows were so much longer than 
the body, and ceremonies more in force than the power of god- 
liness." Accordingly, on the 16th of December, 1630, Mr. Shep- 
ard was summoned to London, like a culprit, to answer for his 
conduct at Earles-Colne. The bishop did not ask him Avhether 
he had subscribed, or was walling to subscribe and conform, but 
taking it for granted that he was an obstinate Nonconformist, 
after abusing Dr. Wilson for setting up a lecture, and the 
lecturer for daring to preach in his diocese, forbade the fur- 
ther exercise of his ministerial gifts in that bishopric; and 
moreover threatened the poor man with a speedy and violent 
interruption if he attempted to preach any where else. 

This interview between the haughty bishop and the humble 
preacher is best described in the language of the sufferer him- 
self. " As soon as I came in the morning, about eight of the 
clock, falling into a fit of rage, he asked me what degree I had 
taken in the university. I answered him that I was master of 
arts. He asked of what college. I answered, of Emmanuel. 
He asked how long I had lived in his diocese. I answered, three 
years and upward. He asked who maintained me all this 
while, charging me to deal plainly with him, adding, withal, that 
he had been more cheated and equivocated with, by some of my 
malignant faction, than ever was man by Jesuit. At the speaking 
of which words he looked as though blood would have gushed out 
of his face, and did shake as if he had been haunted with an ague 
fit, to my apprehension, by reason of his extreme malice and 
secret venom. I desired him to excuse me. He fell then to 


threaten me, and withal to bitter railing, calling me all to 
nought, saying, ' You prating coxcomb, do you think all the 
learning is in your brain ? ' He then pronounced his sentence 
thus : * I charge you that you neither preach, read, marry, burj^ 
or exercise any ministerial function in any part of my diocese ; 
for if you do, and I hear of it, I'll be upon your back, and follow 
you wherever you go, in any part of the kingdom, and so ever- 
lastingly disenable you.' I besought him not to deal so in regard 
of a poor town. And here he stopped me in what I was going 
on to say. ' A poor town ! You have made a company of sedi- 
tious, factious bedlams ; and what do you prate to me of a poor 
town ? ' I prayed him to suffer me to catechize on the Sabbath 
days in the afternoon. He replied, ' Spare your breath ; I'll have 
no such fellows prate in my diocese. Get you gone ; and now 
make your complaint to whom you will.' So away I went ; and 
blessed be God that I may go to Him," 

Nothing can exceed the shameful violence and brutality of the 
bishop but the meekness and humility of the defenceless victim. 
" The Lord saw me unfit and unworthy to be continued there 
any longer," — this is his own self-condemning language respect- 
ing the oppressive treatment which he had received from a nar- 
row-minded and unfeeling man, — " and so God put me to 
silence there, which did somewhat humble me ; for I did think it 
was for my sins the Lord set him thus against me." 

The character of Laud, who holds a prominent place in the 
history of those times when good men were treated worse than 
felons for refusing to conform to human ceremonies in the wor- 
ship of God, has been very differently drawn by the friends and 
the enemies of the Puritans. In the flattering portrait by 
Clarendon, he appears as an angel of light, and with the beauty 
of a holy martyr ; in the rough sketch of Prynne, whose colors 
were mixed up with his own blood, he is represented as one of 
the most hateful incarnations of the spirit of evil. We must 
make allowance for the sweeping expressions of men whom the 
bishop had caused to be set in the pillory, cropped, branded with 
hot irons, imprisoned, fined, and banished, for the sake of what 


they verily believed to be the cause of truth. But after making 
all necessary allowance, it seems impossible to regard him with 
any feeling but that of detestation. When we read Shepard's 
description of the manner in which he silenced one of the most 
pious, humble, and promising young men in the church of Eng- 
land at that time, — a description which probably would have 
answered for many similar scenes, — we can not wonder that 
Winthrop should call him " our great enemy," or that Shepard, 
forbidden, like the apostles by the Jewish rulers, to " speak at 
all, or to teach in the name of Jesus," should represent him as 
'" a man fitted of God to be a scourge to his people." Laud 
was born in 1573, at Reading, in Berkshire, and educated at 
St. John's College, Oxford, of which he subsequently became 
the president, and the munificent patron. He was made Bishop 
of St. David's, in Wales, in 1621, — afterward Bishop of Lon- 
don, — and finally, upon the death of Abbot, in 1633, Arch- 
bishop of Canterbury. There was, indeed, as Fuller says, 
"neither order, office, degree, nor dignity, in college, church, 
nor university, but he passed through it," and in every station 
he exhibited the same overweening partiality for the ceremonies 
of the church, and the same bitter hostility toward the Puri- 
tans, who would not bow down to his idol. If he was not, as 
Shepard calls him, " a fierce enemy of all righteousness," he 
was certainly the avowed enemy of the most righteous persons 
in the church, and a cruel persecutor of every one who showed 
by his life that he preferred the power of godliness to a vain 
ceremony. He had a zeal for the externals of religion which 
consumed the spirit of piety, and an ambition to increase the 
political power of the church which did not hesitate to tram- 
ple upon the most sacred rights of man. He was evidently a 
man of a narrow intellect and a bad heart. He was envious, 
passionate, vindictive, cruel, and implacable. Li the Star 
Chamber he always advocated the severest measures, and " in- 
fused more vinegar than oil into all censures " against the 
victims of church authority. " For this individual," says an 
eminent writer, "we entertain a more unmitigated contempt 


than for any other character in our liistory. His mind had not 
expansion enough to comprehend a great scheme, good or bad. 
His oppressive acts were not, like those of the Earl of Straf- 
ford, parts of an extensive system. They were the luxuries 
in which a mean and irritable disposition indulges itself from 
day to day — the excesses natural to a little mind in a great 
place. While he abjured the innocent badges of Popery, he 
retained all its worst vices — a complete subjection of reason to 
authority, a weak preference of form to substance, a childish 
passion for mummeries, an idolatrous veneration for the priestly 
character, and, above all, a stupid and a ferocious intolerance." * 
It is only necessary to add that, after inflicting upon the defense- 
less Puritans all the evil in his power, he died a violent death, 
being beheaded, upon a charge of high treason, on the 10th of 
January, 1645, in the seventy-second year of his age. He as- 
cended the scaffold " with a cheerful countenance, imputed by his 
friends to the clearedness, by his foes to the searedness, of his 
conscience. The beholders that day were so divided between 
bemoaners and insulters, that it was hard to decide which of 
them made up the major part of the company." f 

Having been thus unexpectedly silenced, and forbidden to 
preach or to perform any ministerial act within the realm of Eng- 
land, with no means of subsistence, with no employment, with no 
hope of being able to promote the cause which he had most at 
heart, with the withering sentence of the bishop upon him, Mr. 
Shepard seemed to be really in an evil case. But though per- 
secuted, he was not forsaken ; though cast down, he was not 
destroyed. The Harlakendens, some of whom had been the 
subjects of renewing grace under his preaching, showed their 
affection and gratitude by affording him an asylum in their hos- 
pitable mansion, and were " so many fathers and mothers " to 
him. The people of Earles-Colne, also, mindful of the good 
which had been done among them by his faithful labors, were 

* Macaulay's Essays, 1, 10, 84 

t Fuller, Church HistQiy, book xi., p. 215. 


desirous that he should remain in the place, and were ready to 
contribute to his comfort, though he could be of no service to 
them as a minister of the gospel. Here he remained about 
six months ; and as he was shut out from all active employ- 
ment, he improved his enforced leisure in looking more carefully 
into the order of worship to which he was required to conform 
— a subject respecting which he had until now been undecided. 
The more he studied, the more clearly he saw " the evil of the 
English ceremonies, cross, surplice, and kneeling," and the less 
disposed to adhere to^ a church that made conformity to such 
things an indispensable condition of its fellowship, and used its 
power so tyrannically against all wdio had conscientious scruples 
about them. 

Mr. Shepard's course in relation to this matter was not at all 
singular. Many of the most distinguished Puritans of that time, 
and of a somewhat later period, were, for a while, undecided re- 
specting their duty as to the ceremonies, were willing to conform to 
many things wdiich they could not altogether approve, were great- 
ly distressed at the idea of separating from their mother church, 
wdiich, with all her faults, still retained, substantially, the true 
Christian doctrine. This was Philip Henry's state of mind. 
He was disposed to remain in the church, and to conform as far 
as possible ; but the treatment he received convinced him that 
the assumption of human authority in matters of religion was a 
great evil, and made him practically, though not nominally, an 
Independent.* In his Diary for February 16, 1G73, the following 
passage occurs : " Mr. Leigh at chapel. Discourse at noon not 
altogether suitable to the Sabbath, concerning ceremonies ; but 
something said in public led to it, viz., that the magistrate hath 
power in imposing gestures and vestures." So Baxter, one of 
the most candid and conscientious of men, was driven farther 
and farther from the English church, by the doctrine, so cruelly 
reduced to practice, that the state has the right to fix the mode 

* Letters on the Puritans, by J. B. Williams. 


in which men shall worship God, and by the impudent plea of 
" men's good, and the order of the church," in justification of 
acts of inhumanity and uncharitableness.* John Corbet, the 
author of " Self-employment in Secret," who was turned out of 
his living at Bramshot, in Hampshire, was another whom violent 
and compulsory treatment compelled to study the subject of con- 
formity with great care and impartiality. Many parts of con- 
formity, says Baxter, he could have yielded to, but not all, and 
notliing less than all would satisfy the bishops. t 

"While Mr. Shepard was thus engaged in examining this sub- 
ject, which had become one of vital importance, and forming his 
views of duty in relation to the ceremonies, his old enemy. 
Bishop Laud, coming into the country upon a visitation, and 
learning that he was still at Earles-Colne, cited him to appear 
before the court at Peldon ; " where I appearing, he asked me 
what I did in the place. I told him I studied. He asked me 
what. I told him the fathers. He replied, I might thank him 
for that ; yet he charged me to depart the place. I asked him 
whither should I go. To the university, said he. I told him I 
had no means to subsist there. Yet he charged me to depart 
the place." It was at this visitation that Mr. Weld, who had 
been suspended from his ministry about a month before, was 
formally excommunicated, and thus, to use the bishop's expres- 
sion, " everlastingly disenabled." Mr. Rogers, of Dedham, was, 
at the same time, required to subscribe ; and, as he could not 
conscientiously do this, he was, like a multitude of other pious 
and fiithful ministers, suspended and silenced. 

=^ Baxter's Remains, 131, fol. 1696. 
t Sermon at the Funeral of J. Corbet. 



Mr. Shepard obliged to leave Earles-Colne. — Bishop's visitation at Dun- 
more. — Mr. Shepard and Mr. Weld talk of going to Ireland. — Scene at 
])unmore. — Mr. Weld arrested. — Mr. Shepard flees from the place. — 
Invited to act as chaplain in the family of Sir Richard Darley. — Journey 
into Yorkshire. — State of Sir Richard's family. — First sermon at But- 
tcrcrambe. — Marriage of Mr. Alured. — Effect of his sermon upon this 
occasion. — Marries Margaret Touteville. — Removes to Heddon. — 
Effect of his preaching at Heddon. — Silenced by Bishop Neile. — First 
child born. — Motives to emigrate to New England. — Resolves to leave 
England. — Engages passage in the Hope. — Ship detained. — Plan to 
arrest Shepard and Norton. 

It was now evident that Mr. Shepard's work at Earles-Colne, 
where he had first become acquainted with the burden and the 
glory of the cross, was finished ; and that he must prepare for a 
speedy departure, if he would escape the effects of the bishop's 
indignation. But whither should he go ? There were no means 
of subsistence for him at the university. He could no longer 
preach in the diocese of London ; and he had been threatened 
with persecution if he attempted to preach any where else in 
England. But he was under the guidance of a Providence in 
whose wisdom he could implicitly trust ; and during this trying 
scene his mind seems to have been kept in perfect peace with re- 
spect to the question where he should go, and what he should do. 
The situation of chaplain in a gentleman's family, in Yorkshire, 
had been offered to him ; but he was unwilling to leave his 
present post until actually forced away by circumstances which 
he could not control. These circumstances had now occurred ; 
and he was watching for the indications of the divine will in 
relation to his future course. 

A few days after he had been peremptorily commanded, by 
an authority which he could not resist, to leave Earles-Colne, 
the bishop was to hold a visitation in Dunmore, in Essex ; and 
Mr. Weld, Mr. Daniel Rogers, Mr. Ward, Mr. Marshall, and 


Mr. Wharton, all standing in jeopardy every hour, '' consulted 
together, whether it was best to let such a swine root up God's 
plants in Essex, and not give him some check." In what way 
they expected to give " a check " to such a man as Laud does 
not appear ; but it was agreed upon privately, at Braintree, that 
they would speak to the bishop, and, if possible, to arrest this 
work of devastation. 

Mr. Shepard and Mr. Weld, traveling together to the place 
where the bishop was to hold his visitation, discussed the expe- 
diency of emigrating to New England. But, upon the whole, 
they concluded that it would be better to go by the way of Scot- 
land into Ireland, and endeavor to find there a place where they' 
might safely and profitably exercise their ministry. When they 
came to the church where the bishop was to preach, Mr. Weld, 
who had been already excommunicated, stopped at the door, 
not being permitted to stand within consecrated walls ; but Mr. 
Shepard, upon whom the anathema had not yet been pronounced, 
went boldly in. Sermon being ended, Mr. Weld drew near to 
hear the bishop's speech, supposing that, as divine service was 
over, even an excommunicated person might listen to an ordinary 
address. He was, however, mistaken. The bishop saw him, 
and, turning upon him with his accustomed violence, demanded 
why he was " on this side New England," and how he, who, by , 
excommunication, had become a heathen and a publican, dared 
to stand upon holy ground. Mr. Weld meekly pleaded in ex- 
cuse, that, if he had sinned, it was through ignorance, and begged 
to be forgiven. The bishop, however, was not in a forgiving 
mood, and Mr. Weld was committed to the pursuivant, and 
bound over in the sum of one hundred marks, to answer, before 
the Court of High Commission, for the crime of desecrating a 
church by his presence, as "an example" and a warning to all 
such persons in future.* 

While this shameful scene was being enacted, Mr. Shepard, . 
coming into the crowd, heard the bishop inquiring about him, 

* Chronicles of Massachiasetts, 522, note. 


find found that the i^ursuivant, having arrested Mr. Weld, was 
anxious to get hold of his companion, as the worst of the two. 
Several persons who \vere friendly to Mr. Shepard, hearing his 
name pronounced, and seeing that the bishop had resolved to 
make " an example " of him also, urged him to retire without 
delay ; but, as he hesitated, and lingered upon this dangerous 
ground, not knowing what to do, a Mr. Holbeech, a pious school- 
master of Felsted, in Essex, seeing his danger, seized him, and 
drew him forcibly out of the church. This was no sooner done 
than the apparitor called for Mr. Shepard, and, as he was no 
where to be seen, the pursuivant was sent in haste to find and 
arrest him. But Mr. Holbeech, who seems to have had more 
energy and presence of mind upon this occasion than his friend, 
" hastened our horses, and away we rid as fast as possible ; and 
so the Lord delivered me out of the hand of that lion a third 

Mr. Shepard was now a fugitive, not from justice, but from 
the savage officers of that most iniquitous Star Chamber, in 
which, if no fault whatever could be proved, it was ruin to a 
man's person and purse to be tried. He had, as has been said, 
received an invitation to act as chaplain to a gentleman's family 
in Yorkshire, which he had declined to accept until the bishop 
had actually driven him away from Earles-Colne. Soon after 
his flight from Dunraore, he received a letter from Ezekiel 
Rogers, then living at Rowley, in Yorkshire, renewing this invi- 
tation, and urging him to come into that county, where he would 
l)e " far from the hearing of the malicious Bishop Laud," who 
had threatened him, if he preached any where in his diocese. 
The family referred to was that of Sir Richard Darley, of But- 
tercrambe, in the north riding of Yorkshire. As a compensation 
for his services, the knight offered to board and lodge him, and 
the two sons of Sir Richard, Henry and Richard Darley, prom- 
ised, for their part, a salary of twenty pounds a year. The 
letters, moreover, which he received from Yorkshire, presented 
an inducement of a higher nature, for they came "crying with 
that voice of the man of Macedonia, ' Come and help us.' " Un- 


der these circumstances, Mr. Shepard could not be doubtful as 
to the path of duty, and he resolved to " follow the Lord to so 
remote and strange a j)lace." When he was readj to depart, 
Sir Richard considerately sent a man to be his guide in a jour- 
ney which, at that time, was not only tedious, but somewhat 
hazardous ; and with " much grief of heart," he " forsook Essex 
and Earles-Colne, going, as it were, he knew not whither ; " and 
the affectionate people, who had for a season rejoiced in his 
light, " sorrowing most of all for the words which he spake, 
that they should see his face no more." 

In this journey he had occasion to remember the Saviour's 
words, " Pray that your flight be not in winter." They traveled 
on horseback, and were five or six days upon the road. The 
weather was cold and stormy. The rivers in Yorkshire were 
mucli swollen by the rains, and hardly passable. The ways 
were rough, and on several occasions the travelers were in great 
danger. At last they came to a town called Ferrybridge, on the 
River Aire, " where the waters were up, and ran over the bridge 
for half a mile together." Here they hired a guide to conduct 
them over the bridge. " But when he had gone a little way, the 
violence of the water was such, that he first fell in, and after him 
another man, who was near drowning before my eyes. Where- 
upon my heart was so smitten with fear of the danger, and my 
head so dizzied with the running of the water, that had not the 
Lord immediately upheld me, and my horse also, and so guided 
it, I had certainly perished." They had proceeded but a short 
distance upon the bridge, Avhen Mr. Shepard fell into tlie river, 
but was able to keep his seat upon his horse, which, being a 
very good one, with great effort soon regained his footing upon 
the bridge. Mr. Darley's man, also, in his efforts to save Mr. i 
Shepard, fell in, and was near drowning, but at last extricated j 
himself from his perilous situation. After much difficulty, they i 
reached a house upon the opposite side of the river, where they | 
changed their clothes, and " went to prayer," blessing God for 
" this wonderful preservation." He looked now upon his life 
as a new existence granted to him, which he " saw good reason 


to give up unto God and his service. And truly the Lord, that 
had dealt only gently with me before, now began to afflict me, 
and to let me see how good it was to be under his tutoring." 

It was late on Saturday evening when they reached York. 
Stopping only for some slight refreshment, they went on to 
Buttercrambe, the seat of Sir Richard, about seven miles far- 
ther, where, at a late hour, very wet, cold, and weary, they at 
last arrived. The reception which Mr. Shepard met at the 
house of Sir Richard Darley was in one respect all that he could 
have anticipated ; for all his wants were promptly attended to, 
and he was lodged in the " best room in the house." But the 
religious condition of the family, and the manner in which he 
found some of its members employed near Sabbath morning 
when he arrived, must have been more chilling to his heart than 
the cold rain had been to his frail body. To his utter astonish- 
ment and dismay, he found " divers of them at dice and tables," 
and learnt, with unspeakable sorrow, that, although he was ex- 
pected to preach on the morrow, no preparation had been made 
to receive him " as becometh saints." He was hurried to his lodg- 
ings, and on the next day, worn out with the fatigue of a per- 
ilous journey, sad at heart, and almost dead with despondency, 
he preached his first sermon in that place ; with what effect is 
not known, but can easily be conjectured. It is not strange 
that while he was comfortably provided for in external respects, 
he should feel that he had fallen upon evil days, and that he 
was " never so sunk in spirit as about this time." For he was 
now far from all his friends. He was in a " profane house," 
where there seemed to be no fear of God. He was in a " vile, 
wicked town and country." He was " unknown and exposed to 
all wrongs." He felt '' insufficient to do any work ; " and, to 
render his situation as comfortless as possible, "the lady was 
churlish." Yet even here he was not altogether forsaken and 
desolate. The lady might treat hira contemptuously, but 
Sir Richard was kind ; and he found in the house three 
friendly servants — Thomas Fugill, who was one of the prin- 
cipal settlers of New Haven, in 1638, — Ruth Bushell, after- 
VUL. I. h 


wards married to Edward Mitchenson, both of whom came to 
New England, and were members of the church in Cambridge, — 
and Margaret Touteville, a relative of Sir Richard, — by whose 
kind attentions the unexpected trials to which he was exposed 
were in some measure alleviated. ^ 

Soon after Mr. Shepard became a resident in this family, the 
daughter of Sir Richard Darley was married to " one Mr. 
Alured, a most profane young gentleman," upon which occasion, 
according to custom, a sermon was required from the chaplain. 
This was the commencement of what may be called a revival in 
that " profane house." Under the discourse, " the Lord first 
touched the heart of Mistress Margaret with very great terrors 
for sin and her Christless estate." Immediately other members 
of the family, among whom were Mr. and Mrs. Alured, began 
to inquire what they must do to be saved. These convictions 
resulted in hopeful conversion ; and the whole family, if not 
savingly renewed, w^ere, at least, thoroughly reformed, and 
brought to the regular performance of external duties. This 
seems to have been the limit of Mr. Shepard's success in that 
place. For although Mather says that God quickly made him 
instrumental of a blessed change in the neighborhood, as well as 
in the family, — the profanest persons thereabouts being touched 
with the efficacy of his ministry, and prayer with fasting suc- 
ceeding to their former wildness, — yet Mr. Shepard himself, 
who best knew the results of his preaching, declares that while 
most of the members of Sir Richard's family were converted, or, 
at least, greatly changed, he knew of " none in the town, or 
about it, who were brought home." 

While Mr. Shepard was thus faithfully laboring to enrich this 
family with the blessings of the gospel, the Lord was preparing 
for him one of the greatest of earthly blessings — a pious and 
devoted Avife. For three years, while he resided at Earles- 
Colne, he had made it a subject of earnest prayer that the Lord 
would carry him to a place " where he might find a meet yoke- 
fellow." His prayer was now answered. He found in Marga- 
ret Touteville — then about twenty-seven years of age — a 


woman every way suited to aid him in his arduous work. She 
Avas " a most humble woman," — "a very discerning Christian," 
— " amiable and holy," — " endued with a very sweet spirit of 
prayer," — and upon the whole, " the best and the fittest person 
in the world " for such a man as Shepard. Sir Richard, with 
his whole family, favored the connection, not only giving their 
cordial consent to his union with their kinswoman, but generously 
increasing her marriage portion; and in 1632, after a residence 
of about a year in the family, he was happily married to one, 
who, in his " exiled condition in a strange place," and in his 
hardships and dangers, was ever to him an "incomparably 
loving " and faithful wife. 

Mr. Shepard now found it expedient to remove from Butter- 
crambe. His wife was unwilling to remain in Sir Richard's 
family after her marriage ; and besides, it soon became impos- 
sible for him to continue his labors in that place, for Bishop 
Neile, a rigid ceremonialist, coming to York and hearing of him, 
peremptorily forbade his preaching there any longer unless he 
would subscribe, which, with his conscience now becoming fully 
enlightened, he could not do. At this crisis he received an invi- 
tation to preach at Heddon, a town in Northumberland, about 
five miles from Newcastle upon the Tyne. It was a poor place, 
and afforded but little prospect of a comfortable subsistence. 
But it was the only field of labor open to him at that time ; and 
as the people were anxious to obtain his services, — especially 
as there he would be far from the residence of any bishop, a 
matter of the greatest importance to a preacher who could not 
subscribe, — he resolved to go. Accordingly, accompanied by 
Mr. Alured, he went to Heddon, not without painful apprehen- 
sions of danger from the efforts of his enemies, and his " poor 
wife full of fears." But all his fears were not realized. He 
experienced, as he expected, some hardship and inconvenience ; 
but he found some kind Christian friends, among the most valu- 
able of whom were Mrs. Fenwick, who gave him the use of a 
house, and Mrs. Sherbourne, who contributed largely to his 
maintenance. His labors in Heddon, and in the adjoining towns, 


were abundant, and accompanied by the divine blessing. Many 
of his hearers were converted ; and those who already loved the 
truth were greatly strengthened by his vigorous piety and en- 
lightening ministry. He found time also to study more thorough- 
ly the subject of church government and order, and to form his 
opinions more fully in relation to the ceremonies, and the "un- 
lawful standing of bishops." He thus became more and more 
sensible of the great errors of the established church, and better 
fitted for the work of building up the tabernacle of God in the 
Wilderness, to which he was soon to be called. 

After preaching at Heddon for about a year, he removed — for 
what reason is not known — to a neighboring town. But he was 
soon forced to leave that place by a clergyman who came with 
authority to forbid his preaching publicly any longer. In this 
new and unexpected trouble, application was made by his friends 
to Morton, Bishop of Durham, for liberty to continue his ministry 
among them ; but the bishop, although he seems to have been 
disposed to grant this request, acknowledged that he dared not 
give his sanction to the preaching of a man whom Laud had 
undertaken to silence. Mr. Shepard therefore went from place 
to place, and preached wherever he could do so without danger, 
until at last he was obliged to confine himself to private expo- 
sition in the house of Mr. Fenwick. During this dismal and 
trying season, his first child, whom he named Thomas, was born, 
— the mother having been in great peril for four days, through 
the unskillfulness of her physician. To have been deprived of 
such a wife in that " dark country," and when he was struggling 
with innumerable difficulties and dangers, would have broken his 
spirit, and the Lord mercifully spared him this affliction. But 
the shadow of such an evil falling upon him amidst all his other 
trials humbled him in the dust, reminded him of all his delin- 
quencies and broken resolutions, drew him nearer to God, and 
excited him to greater diligence and faithfulness in his great 

Mr. Shepard had now been " tossed from the south to the 
north of England," and could neither go farther in that direction, 


nor preacli the gospel publicly where he was. He therefore 
began to consider the case of (Conscience, frequently put by the 
martyrs in the bloody days of Queen Mary — whether it was not 
his duty to abandon his country altogether, and seek in a new 
world not only a refuge for himself, but a place where he might 
labor securely, and with hope, for the advancement of the Sa- 
viour's kingdom. The thoughts of many pious persons in Eng- 
land had, for some time, been turned toward this country, where, 
it was believed, the Lord was about to plant the gospel, and to 
establish a pure church. Cotton, Hooker, Stone, and Weld, the 
intimate friends of Mr. Shepard, together with many of their peo- 
ple, had already tied to New England ; and many others were 
preparing to follow them into the wilderness, where they could 
worship God according to his word. Under these circumstances, 
Mr. Shepard " began to listen to a call to New England." 

For taking this decisive step he saw many weighty reasons. 
He had no call to any place in England where he could preach 
the gospel, nor any means of subsistence for himself and family. 
He saw many pious people leaving their country, and going 
forth, like Abraham, they knew not whither, at the call of God 
and conscience. He was urged by those who had already gone, 
and by many who wished to go to New England, to abandon a 
country where he could no longer be useful as a minister of 
Christ, and aid them in their holy enterprise by his wisdom and 
piety. He " saw the Lord departing from England when Mr. 
Hooker and Mr. Cotton were gone," and anticipated nothing but 
misery if he were left behind. He was convinced of the evil of 
the ceremonies, and of the inexpediency, if not the sin, of mixed 
communion in the sacraments of the church as then adminis- 
tered, while at the same time he deemed it " lawful to join with 
them in preaching." He felt it to be his duty to enjoy, if possi- 
ble, the benefit of all God's ordinances, and to seek them in a 
foreign land, if they could not be found at home. He was exposed 
to fine, imprisonment, and all manner of persecution, and he saw 
no divine command to remain and suffer, when the Lord had 
providentially opened a way of escape. He regarded, however, 


not so much his own personal quiet and safety as " the glory of 
those liberties in New England,"* which the people of God seemed 
about to enjoy, and the influence which he might exert in secur- 
ing and defending them. It was urged by some who did not wish 
to emigrate, that he might remain in the north of England, and 
preach privately ; but he was convinced that this would expose him 
to danger, and he was not satisfied that it was his duty to hazard 
his personal liberty, and the comfort and safety of his family, for 
what was by all classes deemed a disorderly manner of preach- 
ing, when he might exercise his talent publicly and honorably in 
New England. Finally, he considered how sad a thing it would 
be, if he should die, to leave his wife and child in " that rude 
place of the north, where there was nothing but barbarous wick- 
edness," and " how sweet it would be to leave them among God's 
people," however poor. 

These considerations appeared to him of sufficient weight to 
justify his speedy departure, " before the pursuivants came out " 
to render his escape impracticable. And afterward, when the 
removal of the New England Puritans was spoken of, by some 
of their brethren at home, as a treacherous and cowardly flight 
from the duty of suffering, the same reasons, substantially, were 
assigned by him, in his answer to Ball, as a comj^lete vindication 
of their conduct. " Was it not," he says, " a time when human 
worship and inventions were grown to such an intolerable height, 
that the consciences of God's people, enlightened in the truth, 
could no longer bear them ? Was not the power of the tyran- 
nical prelates so great, that, like a strong current, it carried ev- 
ery thing down stream before it ? Did not the hearts of men 
generally fail them ? Where was the people to be found that 
would cleave to their godly ministers in their sufferings, but rath- 
er thought it their discretion to provide for their own quiet and 
safety ? What would men have us do in such a case ? Must we 
study some distinctions to salve our consciences in complying 
with so manifold corruptions in G^d's worship? or should we live 
without God's ordinances, because we could not partake in the 
corrupt administration of them ? It is true we might have 


suffered ; we might easily have found the way to have filled the 
prisons ; and some had their share in these sufferings. But 
whether we were called to this when a wide door of liberty was 
set open, and our witnesses to the truth, through the malignant 
policy of those times, could not testify openly before the world, 
but were smothered up in close prisons, we leave to be consid- 
ered. We can not see but the rule of Christ to his apostles, and 
the practice of God's saints in all ages, may allow us this liberty 
as well as others — to fly into the wilderness from the face of the 
dragon. The infinite and only-wise God hath many works to do 
in the world ; and, by his singular providence, he gives gifts to 
his servants, and disposes them to his work as seems unto him 
best. If the Lord will have some to bear witness by imprison- 
ment, mutilation, etc., he gives them spirits suitable to this work, 
and we honor them in it. If he will have others instrumental to 
promote reformation in England, we honor them, and rejoice in 
their holy endeavor, and pray for a blessing upon them and their 
labors. And what if God will have his church built up also in 
these remote parts of the world, that his name may be known to 
the heathen, or whatsoever other end he has, and for this purpose 
will send forth a company of weak-hearted Christians, who dare 
not stay at home to suffer, why should we not let the Lord alone, 
and rejoice that Christ is preached, howsoever and whereso- 


Having fully resolved to leave England at the first favorable 
opportunity, Mr. Shepard took leave of his friends in the north, 
where he had labored for about a year ; and in the beginning of 
June, 1634, accompanied by his wife, child, and maid servant, he 
left Newcastle secretly, for fear of the pursuivants, on board a 
coal vessel bound to Ipswich, the principal town in Suffolk. He 
remained a short time in Ipswich, first in the family of Mr. 
Russell, and then with his friend Mr. Collins, both of whom 
were afterward prominent members of the church in Cambridge. 
From Ipswich he made a journey to Earles-Colne, where he 

* Treatise of Liturgies, Pref pp. 4-6. 


lived very privately in the family of Mr. Harlakenden, from 
whom he received every attention which his forlorn situation re- 
quired. Here he passed the summer of 1634. This period, in 
which he was "so tossed up and down," having no permanent 
place of residence, and being obliged to keep himself concealed 
from the notice of the bishops, he found " the most uncomfortable 
and fruitless to his own soul especially," that he ever experi- 
enced. He therefore longed to be in New England as soon as 
possible ; and, as a number of friends, among whom was John 
Norton, were preparing to emigrate at the close of that sum- 
mer, he determined to accompany them. The ship in which 
they expected to sail was the Hope, of Ipswich, and the time 
fixed for their departure was the early part of September. 
Although the season was so far advanced that they must arrive 
on the bleak coast of New England toward the beginning of 
winter, yet as dangers thickened around them, — as the master, 
Mr. Gurling, was an able seaman and very friendly to the emi- 
grants, — as the ship was a large and good one, — and as they 
were assured by the captain that he would certainly sail at the 
time appointed, — they were willing to encounter the perils of 
the voyage at that season. 

All necessary arrangements having been made, Mr. Shepard 
repaired, with his family, to Ipswich, for the purpose of embark- 
ing. The ship, however, was not ready to sail, and they were 
detained six or eight weeks beyond the time agreed upon. The 
company were now in great perplexity and distress. The win- 
ter was rapidly approaching, and the voyage becoming every day 
more dangerous. They were surrounded by enemies, and con- 
stantly liable to be discovered and arrested by the savage pur- 
suivants. Some of them feared that this detention might be a 
divine chastisement sent upon them for " rushing onward too 
soon." Mr. Shepard was for a while in great heaviness of soul, 
and had many fears and doubts in relation to this enterprise. 
He had gone too far to relinquish the voyage, and the only al- 
ternative was to proceed ; but from that time he resolved " never 
to go about a sad business in the dark, unless God's call, within 


as well as without " was " very strong, and clear, and comfort- 

While the company were thus anxiously and impatiently wait- 
ing for the ship to sail, Mr. Shepard and Mr. Norton w^ere kind- 
ly concealed and provided for in the house of a worthy man, 
who exerted himself nobly, and at some hazard to himself, in 
their behalf. Many of the pious people in the town resorted pri- 
vately to these men of God for instruction. At the same time 
their enemies were eagerly watching for them, and using all pos- 
sible means to entrap and apprehend them. These hunters of 
souls, failing in all their efforts to draw their prey into the open 
field, and being restrained by law from breaking into the asylum 
to which they had fled, at last persuaded a young man, who lived 
in the house where Mr. Shepard lodged, by a large sum of 
money, to promise that, at a certain hour of a night agreed upon, 
he would open the door for their peaceable entrance into this 
sanctuary. The youth, who was frequently in the presence of 
Mr. Shepard, and heard the words of grace and the fervent 
prayers which he uttered, became deeply impressed with the 
thought that this was a holy man of God ; and that to betray 
him into the hands of his enemies would be a heinous crime. 
He began to repent of his bargain. As the night in which he 
was to execute his wicked purpose drew near, he became greatly 
agitated with sorrow, fear, and regret, insomuch that his master 
noticed the remarkable change in his appearance and conduct, 
and questioned him as to the cause of his apparent distress. At 
first he was unwilling to reveal the truth, and for some time 
evaded the inquiries of the family ; but at length, by the urgent 
expostulations of his master, he was brought to confess with 
tears, that on such a night, he had promised to let in "men to 
apprehend the godly minister. Mr. Shepard was immediately 
conveyed away to a place of safety by his friends ; and when 
the men came at the time appointed, the bird had escaped from 
the snare of the fowler. Not finding the door unbolted, as they 
expected when they raised the latch, they thrust their staves 
under it to lift it from its hinges ; but being observed by some 


persons whom the good man of the house had prudently em- 
ployed for that purpose, they precipitately fled, lest they should 
be arrested and dealt with as housebreakers.* 


Mr. Shepard sails from Harwich. — Danger of shipwreck upon the sands. — 
Man overboard. — Windy Saturday. — Providential deliverance. — Goes 
on shore at Yarmouth. — Child taken sick and dies. — Feelings of Mr, 
Shepard. — Thinks of abandoning the voyage. — Embarrassments. — Mrs. 
Corbet furnishes an asylum at Bastwick. — Employment. — Writes " Se- 
lect Cases." — Goes to London. — Second child born. — Escapes from the 
pursuivants. — Spends the summer in London. — Embarks for New Eng- 
land in the Defense. — Ship springs a leak. — Mrs. Shepard providen- 
tially saved from death. — Arrival at Boston. 

On the 16th of October, 1634, Mr. Shepard and his friends 
sailed from Harwich, a seaport in Essex, at the mouth of the 
River Stour. They had proceeded but a few leagues, when, the 
wind suddenly changing, they were obliged to cast anchor in a 
very dangerous place. The. wind continued to blow all night, 
and, on the morning of the 17th, became so violent that the ship 
dragged her anchors, and was driven upon the sands near the 
harbor of Harwich, where she was for some time in the most 
imminent peril. To add to their distress, one of the sailors, in 
endeavoring to execute some order, fell overboard, and was 
carried a mile or more out to sea, apparently beyond the reach 
of any human aid. The ship and crew were at that moment in 
so much danger, that no one could be spared to go in search of 
him, if, indeed, the boat could have lived a moment in the sea that 
was breaking around them ; and when the immediate danger to 
the ship was over, no one on board supposed that the poor man 
was alive. He was, however, discovered floating upon the 
waves at a great distance, though it was known that he was not 
able to swim ; and three seamen put oflf in the boat, at the 

* Johnson's Wonder-working Providence, ch. 29. 


hazard of their lives, to save him. When they reached him, 
though he was floating, — supported, as it were, by a divine 
hand, — he exhibited no signs of Hfe ; and having taken hira 
on board, they laid him in the bottom of the boat, supposing 
him to be dead. One of the men, however, was unwilling to 
give up his shipmate without using all the means in their power 
for his resuscitation. Upon turning his head downward, in order 
to let the water run out, he began to breathe ; in a few moments, 
under such treatment as their good sense suggested, he was able 
to move and to speak ; and by the time they reached the ship, he 
had recovered the use of his limbs, having been in the water 
more than an hour. This incident is interesting mainly on ac- 
count of the prophetic use that was made of it by one of the pas- 
sengers, probably either Mr. Shepard or Mr. Norton, in his efforts 
to encourage the desponding company. "This man's danger and 
deliverance," said he, " is a type of ours. We are in great dan- 
ger, and yet the Lord's power will be shown in saving us." 

The event corresponded to the prediction, and the strong faith 
of the man of God, like that of Paul, in his stormy voyage to 
Rome, was rewarded by the deliverance which it confidently ex- 
pected. The ship, that was driving rapidly toward the shore, and 
actually touching the sands with her keel, was, by some means, 
turned about, and beaten back toward Yarmouth Roads, "an 
open place at sea, fit for anchorage, but otherwise a very danger- 
ous place." Here they came to anchor, and hoped to ride out 
the gale. But on Saturday morning, October 18, the storm 
increased in violence, and the wind from the west blew with 
such destructive fury, that the day was long known among the 
inhabitants of the coast as the Windy Saturday. Many vessels 
were cast away in this storm ; and among them the collier which 
brought Mr. Shepard from Newcastle, the captain and all his 
men being lost. When the wind arose, the anchors were thrown 
out ; but the cables parted immediately, and the ship drifted rap- 
idly toward the sands, where her destruction seemed inevitable. 
The master gave up all for lost, and the passengers resorted to 
prayer. Guns were fired for assistance from the town ; but, 



although thousands were spectators of their clanger, and large 
rewards were offered to any who would venture their lives to 
save the passengers and crew, yet so dreadful was the storm that 
that no one could be prevailed upon to volunteer in this service. 
It was known anion"; the* crowd that gazed from the walls of 
Yarmouth upon this terrible scene, that the ship was full of 
Puritan emigrants, and therefore a peculiar interest was felt in 
the catastrophe which seemed to await her — some fervently 
praying that the Lord would deliver his people from the danger 
that threatened them, and others, probably, impiously rejoicing 
in their anticipated destruction. One man, an officer of some 
kind, ventured to give expression to the feelings which were 
cherished by many. With a spirit of prophecy somewhat like 
that of Balaam when he was constrained to bless with his mouth 
the people whom he cursed in his heart, he scoffingly exclaimed, 
that he " pitied the poor collier in the road," — referring to the 
coal vessel in which Mr. Shepard had sailed from Newcastle, — 
" but for the Puritans in the other ship he felt no concern, for 
their faith would save them." 

And their faith — or rather the Lord in whom they trusted, 
and for whose glory they had encountered perils by sea as well as 
by land — did save them, in a remarkable way and by unex- 
pected means. The captain and the sailors had lost all presence 
of mind ; and believing that the storm was preternatural, and 
that the ship was bewitched, they made use of the only means of 
escape they could think of, which was nailing two red-hot horse- 
shoes to the mainmast as a charm.* But there was on board a 
drunken fellow, " no sailor, though he had often been to sea," 
who had taken it into his head to accompany these pious people 
to New England, to whose cool judgment they now, under God, 
owed their deliverance. Instead of nailing horseshoes to the 
mast, he advised that it should be cut away, as the only pos- 
sible method of saving the ship. The captain and the crew, be- 
wildered by terror, were incapable of listening to advice : and 

* Johnson, Hist. N. Eng. ch. 29. 


at last Cock, — for that was the man's name, — assuming the 
responsibility, called for hatchets, and encouraging the company 
and the seamen, who were " forlorn and hopeless of life," they 
cut the masts by the board, just at the moment when all had 
given themselves up for lost, expecting " to see neither New nor 
Old Englazid, nor faces of friends any more." 

When the mast was down, a small anchor, which remained, 
was thrown out ; but it being very light, the ship dragged, and 
continued to drift rapidly toward the shore. The sailors, sup- 
posing that the anchor was gone, or that it would not hold, 
pointed to the devouring sands, where so many vessels had been 
ingulfed, and bade the passengers behold the place where their 
graves should shortly be. The captain declared that he had 
done all that he could, and desired the ministers to pray for help 
from above. Accordingly, Mr. Norton, with the passengers, two 
hundred in number, in one place, and Mr. Shepard, with the 
mariners upon deck, " went to prayer," and committed their 
" souls and bodies unto the Lord that gave them." Immediately 
after prayer, the violence of the wind began to abate, and the 
ship ceased to drift. The last anchor was not lost, as they 
thought, but was dragged along, plowing th(^ sand by the vio- 
lence of the wind, which abating after prayer, though still violent, 
'•the ship was stopped just when it was ready to be swal- 
lowed up of the sands." They were still, however, in great dan- 
ger, for the wind was high, and though the anchor had brought 
the ship up, yet the " cable was let out so far that a little rope 
held the cable, and the cable the little anchor, and the lit- 
tle anchor the great ship in this great storm." "VMien one 
of the company, whose faith was stronger than cable or 
tempest, saw how strangely they were preserved, exclaimed, 
" That thread we hang by " — for so he called the rope attached 
to the cable — - " will save us." And so, indeed, it did, " the 
Lord showing his dreadful power, and yet his unspeakable rich 
mercy toward us, who heard, nay, helped us, when we could not 
cry, through the disconsolate fears we had, out of these depths of 
seas and miseries." This deliverance was so great, and so mani- 

VOL. I. i 


festly wrought in answer to prayer, that Mr. Shepard thought, if 
he ever reached the shore again, he should live like one risen 
from the dead ; and he desired that this mercy, to him and his 
family, might be remembered to the glory of God, by his " chil- 
dren and their children's children/' when he was dead, and could 
not " praise the Lord in the land of the living any more." 

They remained on board during the night in comparative safe- 
ty, — the storm continuing to abate, — but in a very comfortless 
condition. Many were sick, " many weak and discouraged," and 
there were " many sad hearts." On Sabbath morning, October 
19, they went on shore. The Puritiins were very strict in their 
observance of the Sabbath ; and Mr. Shepard thought that they 
were in too much haste to leave the ship, and that they ought to 
have spent the day on board in praising the Lord for his signal 
interposition in their behalf. But there were many feeble per- 
sons among them who were unable to engage in religious exer- 
cises, and had need of refreshment on shore ; and besides, they 
were " afraid of neglecting a season of providence in going 
out while they had a cahn ; " for they were held, as it were, 
by " a thread," and if the wind should rise again, they might all 
find their graves in the sands. Mr. Shepard and his family left 
the ship in the first boat that was sent from the town to take off 
the passengers. And here they were visited by a new and more 
bitter afHiction. They were saved from the devouring waters to 
be smitten by the sudden and mysterious death of their only 
child, now about a year old. In the passage from the ship to 
the shore, he was seized with vomiting, which no means they 
could use, although they had all necessary medical aid at 
Yarmouth, could check. After lingering for a fortnight in 
great distress, he died, and was buried at Yarmouth. The 
funeral was conducted very privately ; and it was no small 
aggravation of the sorrow which they felt for the loss of their 
first born, that Mr. Shepard dared not be present, lest the pur- 
suivants should discover and apprehend him. For as soon as 
they were ashore, says Scottou, " two vipers designed not only 
to leap upon the hands " of Shepard and Norton, " but to seize 


their persons. But how strangely preserved is not unknown to 
some of 2(sJ' * 

It is interesting to learn what were the feelings and exer- 
cises of such a man as Mr. Shepard under afflictions like these ; 
for the inward experiences of such minds furnish great lessons 
for us. There was no murmuring under the rod. The feeling of 
his heart was that of a loving child kindly chastised by a ten- 
der father ; and he saw in every blow a manifestation of 
divine love, and a corrective of his waywardness. As if the 
Lord " saw that these waters were not sufficient to wash away 
my sinfulness, he cast me into the fire. He showed me my 
weak faith, pride, carnal content, immoderate love of creatures, 
of my child especially, and begat in me some desires and 
purposes to fear his name. I considered how unfit I was to 
go to such a good land as New England with such an un- 
mortified, hard, dark, formal, hypocritical heart ; and therefore 
no wonder if the Lord did thus cross me." He even began to 
fear — such was his tenderness of conscience, and desire to 
walk in all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord 
blameless — that his affliction came, in part, for " running too 
far in a way of separation from the mixed assemblies in 
England," though this, of all his sins, must have been the 
smallest, for he did not forsake the church until he was driven 
from it by arbitrary force ; and he always believed and de- 
clared — what none of the Puritans ever denied — that there 
were "true churches in many parishes in England," and also 
true ministers of the gospel, whose preaching he never refused 
to bear when he had opportunity. 

One effect of these afflictions — the sudden death of his only 
child, and the tremendous storm which seemed like a frown of 
Providence upon their voyage — was to diminish very much his 
desire of emigrating to New England, and to make him almost 
willing to remain and suffer at home. This state of mind, how- 

* Chronicles of Mass. 540, note. 


ever, did not continue long. When he remembered that he had 
been tossed from one end of England to the other ; that there was 
no place in his native land where he could preach the gospel ; 
that, so long as he refused conformity to the errors and corruptions 
of the church, nothing but " bonds and afflictions " awaited him ; 
that a " door of escape " was providentially opened ; and that, in 
this distant land, he should not only be beyond the reach of the 
bishops, but find a place where he might labor for the cause of 
Christ, — his desire to emigrate revived, and he resolved that, 
as soon as practicable, he would make another attempt to place 
the ocean between him and his persecutors. 

In the mean time, he was in great distress, not knowing where 
to go, nor what to do. The Philistines were upon him. There 
seemed to be no place of safety. He could neither labor for a 
subsistence, nor could his friends, without great danger, minister 
effectually to his necessities. In this time of need, — the most 
trying and apparently hopeless he had ever experienced, — 
Roger Harlakenden and his brother Samuel, having heard of 
his escape from the dangers of the sea, and of worse dangers to 
which he was still exposed upon land, visited him, and refreshed 
his spirit by their sympathy and assistance. While casting 
about where to spend the winter that was approaching, Mr. 
Bridge, minister of Norwich, kindly offered him an asylum in 
his family. But a Mrs. Corbet, an aged and eminently pious 
woman, who lived about five miles from Norwich, fearing that 
Mr. Bridge might hazard his liberty by harboring the fugitive, 
invited him to occupy a house of hers, then vacant, at Bastwick, 
a small hamlet in the county of Norfolk. And she not only fur- 
nished him with a house which " was fit to entertain any prince, 
for fairness, greatness, and pleasantness," but, in various ways, 
endeavored to render the season of his detention and confine- 
ment as comfortable as possible. Here, with his wife and a few 
friends, — Mr. Harlakenden defraying the whole expense of 
housekeeping, — he passed the winter of 1634— 5, far from the 
notice of his enemies, and solaced by " sweet fellowship one with 


another, and also witli God." Nor was he idle in this comfort- 
able retreat. For, although he could not preach publicly, he 
could employ his pen for the instruction and consolation of his 
afflicted friends, and, by diligent study, prepare himself for that 
service to which he was soon to be called, in the new world. 
It was during this season that he wrote the little work, first pub- 
lished at London in 1648, entitled " Select Cases Resolved," 
in a letter to a pious friend, who had fallen into doubt and diffi- 
culty respecting the questions therein discussed. In the title 
pages of the first two editions, this letter is said to have been 
sent from New England ; but, from several expressions at the 
commencement and at the close, it is evident that it was w^ritten 
in England, and upon the eve of his departure from that country ; 
for he says, ' It may possibly be my dying letter to you before 
I depart from hence and return to Him, as not knowing but our 
last disasters and sea straits, of which I wrote to you, may be 
but the preparation for the execution of the next approaching 
voyage." And again, in the conclusion : " I thank you heartily 
for improving me this way of writing, tvho have my mouth 
stopped from speaking,'^^ — a calamity which certainly never 
befell him in New England, — " and remember, when you are 
best able to pray for yourself, to look after me and mine, and 
all that go with me on the mighty waters ; and then to look up 
and sigh to heaven for me, that the Lord would, out of his free 
grace, but bring me to that good land, and those glorious ordi- 
nances, and that there I may but behold the face of the Lord in 
his temple " — a request which he never had occasion to make 
after landing on these shores. Of this letter, written in a time of 
great trial, and coming from a mind itself needing all the consola- 
tions of friendship and religion, it is only necessary to say, in the 
language of those who first gave it to the public, that it is " so 
full of grace and truth, that it needs no other epistle commenda- 
tory than itself," and no one who desires to walk comfortably 
with God, in his general and particular calling, can study these 
answers, in which acuteness, depth, piety, and Christian experi- 


ence are so eminently and happily blended, without becoming a 
Aviser and a holier man.* 

Early in the spring of 1G35, Mr. Shepard, accompanied by his 
friend Harlakenden, went up to London, in order to make all 
necessary preparation for another attempt to leave England. 
During the journey, which seems to have been somewhat pro- 
tracted, he was nearly deprived of his faithful and devoted wife. 
At the house of Mr. Burroughs, a Puritan minister, where they 
stopped about a fortnight, Mrs. Shepard, being near her confine- 
ment, " fell down from the top of a pair of stairs to the bottom ; 
yet the Lord kept lier, and the child also, from that deadly dan- 
ger." Upon their arrival at London, in the very neighborhood 
of their " great enemy," Laud, and not knowing where to hide 
themselves, a Mrs. Sherbourne provided a " very private place " 
for them ; where, on Sunday, April 5, 1635, their second son was 
born, whom they named Thomas, after his brother who died at 
Yarmouth. The mother soon recovered, but the child was sickly, 
and at one time they thought he would have died of a sore 
mouth. Mr. Shepard had more confidence in prayer than in the 
physician's skill ; and in the night he was " stirred up to pray " 
for the life of the child, and " that with very much fervor, and 
many arguments;" and thus, after a sad, heavy night, the 
Lord shined upon him in the morning, and he found the 
sore mouth, which was thouglit to be incurable, " suddenly 
and strangely amended." They had not been long m London 
before their hiding-place was discovered by their enemies, and 
in order to escape from the " vipers " that were ready to fasten 
upon them, they removed by night to a house belonging to Mr. 
Alured, which, providentially, stood empty. The pursuivants, 
who were sent to apprehend Mr. Shepard, were a little too late ; 
for, upon entering the place where he had been secreted, they 
found that the whole family had gone, no one knew whither ; 
and thus once more the Lord delivered his faithful servant from 
the snares which had been laid for him. 

* Prefaces to Select Cases Resolved. 


In the closest retirement, but not without much sympathy 
and many tokens of love from Christian friends, Mr. Shepard and 
his family passed the summer of 1635 in London. Toward 
the close of the summer, — Mrs. Shepard and the child having 
recovered their strength in some measure, — they began to pre- 
pare again for their removal to New England. The reasons 
which had led them to this decision the year before still existed, 
with perhaps increasing force ; and it became more and more evi- 
dent, every day, that there was no longer any place or duty for 
them in England. Several "precious friends" were resolved, 
and waiting to sail with Mr. Shepard, among whom were Roger 
Harlakenden, Mr. Champney, Mr. Wilson, Mr. Jones, after- 
ward colleague with Mr. Bulkley, at Concord, besides many 
pious people who were ready to follow their persecuted minis- 
ters to the ends of the earth, in order to enjoy the gospel in its 
purity. All necessary arrangements having been made, on the 
10th of August, 1635, — a day to be remembered by the people 
of this commonwealth, — the company embarked on board the 
ship Defense, of London, commanded by Captain Thomas Bos- 
tock, and commenced their voyage, " having tasted much of 
God's mercy in England, and lamenting the loss of our native 
country, when we took our last view of it." 

Mr. Shepard, it has been said, embarked in disguise, and under 
the assumed name of his brother, " John Shepard, husbandman." 
The authority for this statement is found in a list of passengers 
who came over in the Defense, taken from a manuscript vol- 
ume, discovered in the Augmentation Office, so called, by Mr. 
Savage, in the year 1842, which contains the names of persons 
permitted to embark at the port of London, between Christmas, 
1634, and the same period in the following year. In this list 
we have, among others, the names of John Shepard, husband- 
man, aged thirty-six, Margaret Siiepard, thirty-one, and Thomas 
Shepard, three months. Samuel Shepard appears as a servant 
of Roger Harlakenden. Neither Mr. Wilson nor Mr. Jones is 
mentioned, though they were certainly on board ; but Sarah 
Jones, aged thirty-four, with her children, is named among the 


passengers.* It is probable tliat Mr. Shepard did embark un- 
der the name of his brother John, though, as he was born in 
1605, he could have been but thirty years of age when he came 
to this country, and Margaret seems to have been somewhat 
younger. We know that great efforts were at that time made to 
prevent the ministers from leaving England. As early as 1629, 
Mr. Higginson, writing from Salem, exhorted his friends to come 
quickly, for if they lingered too long, " the passages of Jordan, 
through the malice of Satan, might be stopped." Cotton, Hook- 
er, and Stone, who came in 1633, with great difficulty eluded the 
vigilance of the pursuivants, and escaped from the country. 
Richard Mather was obliged to conceal himself until the vessel 
was at sea. In April, 1 637, a proclamation was issued " to 
restrain the disorderly transportation of his majesty's subjects to 
the colonies without leave," commanding that " no license 
should be given them without a certificate that they had taken 
the oaths of supremacy and allegiance, and had conformed to the 
discipline of the church of England." t The danger, therefore, 
to which Mr. Shepard, in common with others, was exposed, was 
great enough to render concealment desirable and necessary. 
How far any one is justifiable in assuming the name of another 
for the purpose of avoiding danger, or of doing a good work, is 
a question of casuistry which every reader will decide accord- 
ing to his light ; but all candid persons who become familiar with 
the character of Shepard, and with the circumstances in which \ 
he was placed, must be convinced that he intended to act consci- 
entiously, and that if he did not, as he confessed, belong to that 
class of martyrs to whom God gave " a spirit of courage and 
willingness to glorify him by sufferings at home," he was at 
least a sincere lover of truth, and foremost among those holy 
men who were prepared to "■ go to a wilderness, where they i 
could forecast nothing but care and temptation," for the sake of 
enjoying Christ in his ordinances, and of propagating the 

* Mass. Hist. Coll. xxviii. 268, 269, 273. 

t See Chronicles of Massachusetts, pp. 260, 428, notes. 


gospel ill its divine purity. If any think that he erred in not 
boldly facing the terrors of the Star Chamber, " let him that is 
without sin among them cast the first stone at him." 

The ship in which they embarked was old, rotten, and alto- 
gether unfit for such a voyage. In the first storm they encoun- 
tered, she sprung a leak, which exposed them to imminent peril ; 
and they were on the point of returning to port, when, with 
much difficulty, they succeeded in repairing the damage. They 
had a stormy and rough passage. The infant Thomas, who, at 
their embarkation, was so feeble that the parents and friends 
feared he could not live until they reached New England, was 
much benefited by the sea ; but the mother, worn out by constant 
watching, hardship, and exposure, at last took a cold, terminating 
in consumption, which, in a few months, consigned her to an 
early grave. Among other incidents of the voyage, Mrs. Shep- 
ard's miraculous preservation from " imminent and apparent 
death" ought not to be passed over in silence. In one of the 
violent storms which they experienced, she was, by the sudden 
lurching of the ship, thrown head foremost, with the child in her 
arms, directly toward a large iron bolt ; and " being ready to 
fall, she felt herself plucked back by she knew not what," 
whereby both she and the child escaped all injury — a wonder- 
ful interposition, which Mr. Shepard and others who witnessed it 
could ascribe to nothing but " the angels of God, who are min- 
istering spirits for the heirs of life." 

On the 2d day of October, 1635, after fifty-four wearisome days 
upon the sea, they came in sight of the land where they hoped 
to find rest both for the body and the soul ; and on the third they 
landed safely at Boston, " with rejoicing in God after a longsome 
voyage," and amidst the hearty congratulations of numerous 
friends, whose houses were hospitably thrown open for their ac- 
commodation. Mr. Shepard and his family were kindly pro- 
vided for at the house of Mr. Coddington, then treasurer of the 
colony, where they remained until after the Sabbath ; and on 
Monday, October 5, they removed to Newtown, which was to be 
their future field of labor and their quiet home. 



Sketch of the early history of Newtown. — Organization of the second 
church in Newtown. — Death of Mrs. Shepard. — Sickness of Thomas. 
— Antinomian controversy. — Mr. Shepard's position -and influence in this 
controversy. — First Synod in Newtown. — Mr. Hooker's objections. — 
Eesult of Synod, 

Newtown, afterward called Cambridge, was selected as the 
site of a town which the settlers intended to fortify, and make 
the metropolis of the Massachusetts colony. In the spring of 
the year 1631, Winthrop, who had the year preceding been 
chosen governor, came to this place, and set up the frame of a 
house upon the spot where he first pitched his tent. The depu- 
ty governor, Dudley, completed a house for himself, and removed 
his family, with the expectation that this was to be the seat of 
government. The town was laid out near Charles Kiver, in 
squares, the streets intersecting each other at right angles. It 
soon became evident, however, that Boston was to be the chief 
place of commerce ; and the neighboring Indians, having ceased 
their hostility, and made overtures of perpetual friendship with 
the colonists. Governor Winthrop removed the frame of his 
house to Boston, and the scheme of a fortified town here was 

But, though the design of making NoAvtown the capital of the 
colony was given up, it remained still under the especial care 
and direction of the government. The annual election of gov- 
ernor and magistrates was, for some time, held here ; and, in 
1632, the General Court appropriated sixty pounds, to be raised 
by the several plantations, toward erecting a palisade about it. 
The first settlers of the town, though few in number, were, gen- 
erally, in good circumstances ; and they soon received a valuable 
accession by the arrival of a company, recently from England, 
who had commenced a settlement at Braintree, but who, by 
direction of the General Court, removed to Newtown in August, 


1632. Winthrop calls them "Mr. Hooker's company," from 
which it may be inferred that they were from that part of the 
county of Essex where Mr. Hooker was settled. Mr. Hooker, 
however, did not come over with this company, and the people 
of Newtown had as yet no minister ; but they erected a meeting 
house, preparatory to the settlement of the ministry and the 
ordinance of the gospel among them, feeling, as one of the early 
fathers remarks, that a country, however beautiful and prosper- 
ous, without a gospel ministry, is "like a blacksmith without 
his fire." 

Mr. Hooker, in company with Mr. Cotton and Mr. Stone, 
arrived in the month of September, 1633, and on the 11th of 
October following, he, with Mr. Stone for his assistant, was 
ordained over the people of Newtown, many of whom had sat 
under his ministry in England, and after their settlement here 
had never ceased to importune him to come and take the pastoral 
charge of them. In May, 1634, the people of Newtown, being, 
as they alleged, straitened for room, and having obtained 
leave of the General Court to look out a place, either for 
extension or removal, sent several of their number to Agawam 
and Merrimack, to find, if possible, a more suitable location for 
their growing community. Not succeeding to their satisfaction 
in this attempt, they petitioned for leave to remove to the banks 
of the Connecticut River, where they were certain of finding 
ample territory and a fruitful soil. The subject was earnestly 
discussed in the General Court for several days. The principal 
arguments in favor of granting the petition were — that the 
people, without more land for their cattle, could not maintain 
their minister, or receive any more of their friends who might 
be disposed to come and assist them; that, if the fertile country 
upon the Connecticut were not speedily occupied by a colony 
from Massachusetts, the Dutch or the English might take pos- 
session of it, which would be very undesirable ; that the towns 
in the colony were located too near each other ; and finally, that 
they were strongly inclined, and, in fact, had made up their minds, 
to go — a reason as conclusive, perhaps, as any other. In 


addition to the avowed grounds of their desire to remove so 
far from the parent colony, some have ventured to add one 
which they never avowed, and probably never thought of, name- 
ly, that Mr. Hooker's light would shine more brightly, and be 
more conspicuous, if it were farther from the golden candlestick 
of the church in Boston, 

On the other hand, a variety of reasons were urged against 
their removal. It was said that, being united in one body with 
the Massachusetts colony, and being bound by oath to seek the 
good of the commonw^ealth, it would be wrong, in point of con- 
science, to allow them to separate from their brethren ; that the 
colony was weak, and constantly in danger of being attacked by 
its enemies, and therefore could not afford to spare so large a 
number of their most influential citizens ; that the departure of 
Mr. Hooker would not only draw away many from the colony, 
but divert to a distant part of the country friends who would 
otherwise settle here ; that, by removing, they would be exposed 
to great danger, from the Dutch, — who claimed the Connecticut 
country, and had already built a fort there, — from the Indians, 
and from the English government, w^hich would not permit them 
to settle without a patent in any place to which the king laid 
claim ; that they might be accommodated at home by enlarge- 
ment from other towns, or by removal to any other place within 
the patent ; and finally, that it would be the removal of a can- 
dlestick out of its place, which was a calamity by all means to 
be avoided if possible. 

When the question was taken, the governor and two assist- 
ants voted in the affirmative ; the deputy governor, together 
with the other assistants and all the deputies, in the negative. 
At this stage of the business, a controversy arose between the 
Court of Magistrates and the deputies respecting the legal 
effect of this vote, not necessary to be described here. It is 
sufficient to say that the proceedings of the court were brought 
to a stand ; and so great, in their opinion, was the importance 
of the question respecting " the negative voice," which divided 
them, that a day of fasting and prayer for divine direction was 


set apart by public authority. Accordingly, the 18th day of 
September was observed by all the churches in the colony. On 
the 24th of the same month, the court again met at Newtown. 
Mr. Hooker was requested to deliver a discourse upon the 
important occasion ; but he declining on the ground that his per- 
sonal interest in the question rendered him unfit for this service, 
the dehcate and difficult task was, by desire of the whole court, 
performed by Mr. Cotton. He chose for his text Haggai ii. 4, 
from which he took occasion to describe the nature, or the 
strength, as he termed it, of the magistracy, of the ministry, 
and of the people. The strength of the magistracy he asserted 
to be their authority ; of the ministry, their purity ; and of the 
people, their liberty ; showing that each of these had a negative 
voice in relation to the other, and yet the right of ultimate 
decision was in the whole body of the people ; answering all 
objections, and exhorting the people to maintain their liber- 
ties against all unjust and violent attempts to take them away. 

This discourse gave great satisfaction to all parties. The 
court resumed its discussions in a better and more forbearing 
spirit ; and although the deputies were not satisfied that the neg- 
ative voice should be left to the magistrates, yet the subject was 
by common consent dropped for that time. The result was, that 
the people of Newtown, seeing how unwilling their brethren 
were that they should remove to Connecticut, came forward and 
accepted such lands as had been offered for their accommodation, 
by Boston and Watertown. This arrangement, however, was 
not long satisfactory. The people of Newtown, having fixed 
their eyes and their minds upon the fine country upon the Con- 
necticut, soon began to revive the project of removal, and many 
in the neighboring towns being desirous of joining them in this 
enterprise, the General Court at length gave them leave to re- 
move whither they would, on condition of their remaining under 
the jurisdiction of Massachusetts. 

The place selected by the agents of Newtown was called by 
the natives Suckiaug, where, toward the close of the year 1635, 
a plantation was commenced by a few of their number, the great 
VOL. I. j 


body of the people, with their ministers, intending to follow them 
during the ensuing year. Accordingly, early in the summer 
of 1636, Messrs. Hooker and Stone, with about one hundred 
persons, composing the whole, or very nearly the whole of the 
congregation, left Newtown, and traveled through a pathless 
wilderness to the place which they had chosen as their inherit- 
ance. They had no guide but their compass. Like the patri- 
archs, they drove before them their flocks and herds, and fed 
upon the milk of their kine by the way. After a long and 
tedious journey, they reached Suckiaug, on the Connecticut, and 
laid the foundation of the city of Hartford. 

Upon the removal of Mr. Hooker's congregation, Mr. Shepard 
and those who accompanied him, about sixty in all, purchased 
the houses thus left vacant, to dwell in until they should find a 
more suitable place for a permanent settlement. The majority, 
however, soon became desirous of remaining at Newtown, and 
were unwilling to remove farther, " partly because of the fellow- 
ship of the churches ; partly because they thought their lives 
were short, and removals to new plantations full of troubles ; 
partly because they found sufficient for themselves and com- 
pany." They therefore resolved to remain, and without further 
delay to organize themselves into a church for the enjoyment of 
those gospel privileges which they had suffered so much to secure. 
The necessary arrangements were accordingly made, and on the 
1st day of February, 1636, corresponding to February 11, new 
style, a public assembly was convened, and a church, the first 
permanent one in Cambridge, and the eleventh in Massachu- 
setts, was duly organized. The following account of this solemn 
transaction, given by an eye witness, is exceedingly interesting 
for the light which it throws upon the manner of constituting 
churches in the time of our fathers. 

" Mr. Shepard, a godly minister come lately out of England, 
and divers other good Christians, intending to raise a church 
body, came and acquainted the magistrates therewith, who gave 
their approbation. They also sent to all the neighboring 
churches for their elders to give their assistance, at a certain 


day, at Newtown, when they should constitute their body. Ac- 
cordingly, at this day, there met a great assembly, where the 
proceeding was as followeth : Mr. Shepard and two others — 
who were after to be chosen to office — sat together in the 
elders' seat. Then the elder of them began with prayer. After 
this Mr. Shepard prayed with deep confession of sin, etc., and 
exercised out of Eph. v. 27, ' That he might present it to him- 
self a glorious church,' etc., and also opened the cause of their 
meeting. Then the elder desired to know of the churches as- 
sembled what number were needful to make a church, and 
how they ought to proceed in this action. Whereupon some of 
the ancient ministers, conferring shortly together, gave answer : 
That the Scripture did not set down any certain rule for the 
number. Three, they thought, were too few, because by Matt, 
xviii. an appeal was allowed from three; but that seven 
might be a fit number. And, for their proceeding, they advised 
that such as were to join should make confession of their faith, 
and declare what work of grace the Lord had wrought in them ; 
which accordingly they did, Mr. Shepard first, then four others, 
then the elder, and one who was to be deacon, — who had also 
prayed, — and another member. Then the covenant was read, 
and they all gave a solemn assent to it. Then the elder desired 
of the churches, that, if they did approve them to be a church, 
they would give them the right hand of fellowship. Whereupon 
Mr. Cotton, upon short speech with some others near him, in 
the name of their churches, gave his hand to the elder, with a 
short speech of their assent, and desired the peace of the Lord 
Jesus to be with them. Then Mr. Shepard made an exhorta- 
tion to the rest of his body, about the nature of their covenant, 
and to stand firm to it, and commended them to the Lord in a 
most heavenly prayer. Then the elder told the assembly that 
they were intended to choose Mr. Shepard for their pastor, (by 
the name of the brother who had exercised,) and desired the 
churches, that, if they had any thing to except against him, 
they would impart it to them before the day of ordination. 
Then he gave the churches thanks for their assistance, and 


fio left them to the Lord." * Mr. Shepard's ordination, or 
rather installation, took place soon after, but the exact date of it 
is not known. It was probably deferred, as Mather suggests, 
on account of the lateness of the hour, and for the purpose 
of having ample time for the performance of those solem- 
nities which they thought suitable to such an occasion. 

Mr. Shepard's ministry in Newtown commenced under the 
pressure of heavy domestic affliction. Within a fortnight after 
the organization of the church, his wife Margaret, whose 
health had been for some time rapidly failing, was taken from 
him by death. It had been her great desire to see her hus- 
band in a place of safety among God's people, and to leave 
her child under the pure ordinances of the gospel. Her desire 
was granted. Having been received into the fellowship of the 
church, having given up her dear child in the ordinance of 
baptism, and having witnessed the hopeful beginning of the 
work for which she had sacrificed all the comforts of life, and 
even life itself, she was enabled to say, with Simeon of old, 
" Lord, now lettest thou thy servant depart in peace, for mine 
eyes have seen thy salvation." The precious ordinances for 
which she had pined, amidst the privations and dangers of their 
wandering life, were the means of greatly cheering her under 
the wasting power of disease, and of filling her soul with a sense 
of God's love, which continued until the last breath. Nothing 
can be more beautiful or touching than Mr. Shepard's reference 
to the baptism of his son, and to the early death of his " incom- 
parably loving," amiable, and pious wife — a passage which 
many a baptized child may read with tears. " On the 7th of 
February, God gave thee the ordinance of baptism, whereby God 
is become thy God, and is beforehand with thee, that whenever 
thou shalt return to God, he will undoubtedly receive thee : this 
is a most high and happy privilege, and therefore bless God for 
it. And now, after this had been done, thy dear mother died in 
the Lord, departing out of this world to another, who did lose 
her life by being careful to preserve thine ; for in the ship thou 

* Winthrop's Journal, 1, 179, 180. 


wert so feeble and froward both in the day and night, that 
hereby she lost her strength, and at last her life. She hath made 
also many a prayer and shed many a tear for thee ; and this 
hath been oft her request, that if the Lord did not intend to glori- 
fy himself by thee, that he would cut thee off by death rather 
than to live to dishonor him by sin. And therefore know it, that 
if thou shalt turn rebel against God, and forsake him, and care 
not for the knowledge of him, nor believe in his Son, the Lord 
will make all these mercies woes ; and all thy mother's prayers, 
tears, and death, to be a swift witness against thee at the great 
day." * 

The child to whom this affecting appeal was made was after- 
ward brought very low by a humor which filled his mouth, lips, 
and cheeks with blisters, so that it was difficult for him to take 
sufficient nourishment to sustain life. When the humor left his 
mouth, it seized upon his eyes, and in a short time he became 
quite blind, " with pearls upon both eyes, and a white film, inso- 
much that it was a dreadful sight unto all the beholders of him, and 
very pitiful." None but a father can realize the distress which 
Mr. Shepard felt at the prospect that his only son was to be 
blind through the remainder of his life. But he was mercifully 
spared this severe affliction. When he had become convinced 
that he must have " a blind child to be a constant sorrow to him 
till his death," and was made contented to " bear the indignation 
of the Lord, because he had sinned," resolving now to " fear 
nor grieve no more, but to be thankful, nay, to love the 
Lord, suddenly and strangely, by the use of a poor weak 
means, namely, the oil of white paper," the child was re- 
stored to sight again, to the great joy of the father, who 
regarded the cure as a gracious answer to his earnest prayers. 
The manner in which Mr. Shepard used this event to awaken 
the gratitude of his child, when, in after years, he should learn 
how wonderfully he had been preserved from one of the great- 
est temporal calamities, is worthy of remembrance. " Now, 

* Introduction to Autobiography. 


cbnsider, mj son, and remember to lift up thine eyes to heaven, 
to God, in everlasting praises of him, and dependen6e upon him ; 
and take heed thou dost not make thine eyes windows of lust, 
but give thine eyes, nay, thy heart, and whole soul, and body, to 
him that hath been so careful of thee when thou couldst not care 
for thyself." 

These domestic afflictions were soon followed by trials of 
another sort, which, to a minister of Christ so deeply interested 
in the prosperity of the church as Mr. Shepard was, were, 
perhaps, more difficult to be borne with patience, and called for 
a larger measure of grace. He found that the people of God 
are exposed to " perils in the wilderness," as well as in the 
crowded thoroughfares of the world, and that Christ may 
be as deeply wounded in the house of his friends as among 
the armies of the aliens. The church at Newtown had been 
organized but a short time, and had but just begun to enjoy 
the liberty and the rest for which so many sacrifices had been 
made, when the peace of all the churches in the colony was vio- 
lently disturbed by the opinions and practices of the Antino- 
mians, which were first promulgated in this part of the world 
by Mrs. Hutchinson. As Mr. Shepard bore a distinguished 
part in that controversy, and exerted no small influence in bring- 
ing it to a triumphant conclusion, a few words respecting its 
origin and effects may here be expected. 

Mr. Hutchinson, who had been an intimate friend and a great 
admirer of Mr. Cotton in England, came to Boston, with his wife, in 
the autumn of 1 G34. Mrs. Hutchinson was a woman of a mascu- 
line understanding, and of fiery zeal in religion. Mr. Cotton, whom 
she held in the highest estimation and respect, said of her, at an 
early period of her residence here, that " she was well beloved," 
and that " all the faithful embraced her conference, and blessed 
God for her fruitful discourses" — a commendation which, if she 
ever deserved, she soon forfeited, by her gross heresies in doc- 
trine and in practice. At Boston she was treated with great re- 
spect, not only by Mr. Cotton, but by other distinguished persons, 
among whom was Mr. Vane, who, in 1636, was chosen governor 


of the colony, in the room of Winthrop. It was natural that the 
"high consideration in which she was held by the leading men in 
the church and state should awaken her vanity, and give her great 
influence with the people. In imitation of the brethren of the 
church of Boston, who held weekly meetings for religious con- 
ference, she soon established a meeting of women at her house, 
in obedience, as she pretended, to the apostolical precept that 
" the aged women should be teachers of good things ; " and 
especially that they should " teach the young women to be 
sober." The novelty of this proceeding among the Puritans, 
who, in obedience to another apostolical injunction, had never 
suffered " a woman to speak in the church," together with the 
reputation of the innovator, soon collected an audience of sixty 
or eighty women at her house every week, to hear her prayers, 
her exhortations, and her explanations — seldom, probably, cor- 
rect — of Mr. Cotton's sermons. 

In these meetings, held professedly for the purpose of promot- 
ing the edification of the younger women, but designed to diffuse 
a new light among the men also, Mrs. Hutchinson was not long 
satisfied to be the humble expositor of Mr. Cotton's doctrines, 
but soon ventured to broach some opinions of her own, which, 
however, she pretended to confirm by an unfair and fraudulent 
use of Mr. Cotton's authority. The fundamental position which 
she assumed, and maintained with a fierce enthusiasm, was, that 
a Christian should not look to any Christian graces, or to any 
conditional promises made to faith or sanctification, as evidence 
of God's special grace and love toward him, — this being a way 
of works, — but, without the appearance of any grace, faith, holi- 
ness, or change in himself, must rest upon an absolute promise 
made in an immediate revelation to his soul. In connection with 
this doctrine, and as the legitimate results of it, she taught that 
the Holy Ghost dwells personally in a justified person ; that the 
command to work out our salvation with fear and trembling is 
addressed to none but such as are under the covenant of works ; 
that personal holiness is not to be regarded as a sign of a justi- 
fied state ; that there is no such thing as inherent righteousness ; 


that immediate revelations respecting future events are to be ex- 
pected by believers, and should be received as equally authorita- 
tive and infallible with the Scriptures ; together with many other 
absurd and foolish notions, which it would seem that none but per- 
sons extremely ignorant, or partially insane, could possibly believe. 

That Mrs. Hutchinson received these opinions from Mr. Cot- 
ton, as she and her followers pretended, is not credible. It 
is true that Mr. Cotton at one time entertained a too favor- 
able opinion of the piety and talents of this enthusiastic in- 
novator, and for a while bore no decided testimony against the 
errors that were dividing and distracting the church. The con- 
sequence was, that he was claimed by both parties in this contro- 
versy ; the Antinomians declaring that their doctrines were legit- 
imate inferences from his preaching, and had his sanction ; the 
Orthodox, on the other hand, affirming that he adhered to the 
common faith, and disavowed their heretical sentiments. This 
state of the public mind called for an open and explicit declara- 
tion of his sentiments, which, as soon as he fully understood the 
use made of his authority by the Antinomians, he made, to the 
satisfaction of his brethren, and to the dismay and discomfiture 
of the heretics. He at once, as is usual in such cases, became 
the object of the hatred and reproaches of the party which he 
had seemed — and only seemed — to favor. They called him a 
coward, who dared not avow his real principles ; a double-mind- 
ed man, who taught one thing in the pulpit, and another in pri- 
vate conference; a blind guide, who had lost all insight into the 
spirit of the gospel ; and so bitter, and at the same time so vul- 
gar, was the hatred with which they persecuted the good man, 
that one of the party sent him a pound of candles, with the im- 
pudent intimation that he was in '• great need of light." 

It has been sometimes said, in later times, that this Antino- 
mian controversy was a strife, a mere jargon of words, while 
the parties were really of one mind respecting justification and 
sanctification. But a careful examination will show that it was 
a strife between two difierent and opposite gospels, and exhibited 
totally different grounds of liope to sinners. The Antinomians 


were heretics of the worst and most dangerous sort. By their 
mode of advancing free grace, says Shepard, they denied and 
destroyed all evidence of inherent grace in us ; by crying up 
Christ, they destroyed the use of faith to apply to him ; by ad- 
vancing the spirit and revelations by the spirit, they destroyed or 
weakened the revelation by the Scriptures ; by depending on 
Ciirist's righteousness and justification without the works of the 
law, they destroyed the use of the law, and made it no rule of life to 
a Christian ; by imagining an evidence by justification, they de- 
stroyed all evidence by etfectual vocation and sanctification. 
Their opinions were "• mere fig leaves to cover some distempers 
and lusts lurking in men's hearts ; " and hence it was that after they 
regarded themselves as once sealed, and consequently in Christ, 
and had received the witness, they never doubted, though they 
fell into the foulest and most scandalous sins ; and to renew their 
repentance they spoke of, as a sign of great weakness.* 

Absurd, licentious, and destructive as these opinions were, 
they spread among the people with astonishing rapidity ; and 
wherever they took root they produced the bitter fruits of aliena- 
tion, hatred, and slander. The converts to the new opinions were, 
as Shepard justly called them, " the scourges of the land, and 
the most subtle enemies of the power of godliness." By their 
clamor " the ancient and received truths came to be darkened, 
God's name to be blasphemed, the church's glory diminished, 
many godly persons grieved, many wretches hardened, deceiving 
and being deceived, growing worse and worse." They labored 
to destroy the reputation of all those ministers who held the 
commonly-received doctrines, stigmatizing them as legal preach- 
ers who were under a covenant of works, who never knew 
Christ themselves, and who could not be the instruments of 
bringing men into the light and liberty of the gospel. They en- 
couraged ignorant men and women to become preachers, and 
applauded their ministrations as more effectual than that of any 
of the " black coats " — as they contemptuously styled the reg- 

* New England's Lamentations for Old England's Errors, p. 4. 


ular ministers — who had been at what they facetiously called 
the " ninniversity." They opposed the marching of the troops 
that had been raised to assist the people of Connecticut against 
the Pequods, upon the ground that the officers and soldiers were 
too much under a covenant of works. 

In an incredibly short time, this fanatical spirit divided not only 
the church of Boston, but a large number of the churches of 
Massachusetts and Plymouth. The people became disaffected 
toward the ministers, and prejudiced against all their public and 
private instruction. Many who had been converted, apparently 
by the instrumentality of these ministers, in England, — who 
had followed them into this wilderness to sit under their minis- 
trations, — who had been, like the Galatians, ready to pluck out 
their own eyes, and give them to their pastors, — now forsook 
their parish churches, and greedily listened to the ravings of in- 
sanity or ignorance. Some of the leading men in the colony, 
among whom were Vane, Coddington, and others, took sides 
with these disturbers of the peace. Families, as well as churches, 
were divided and alienated. It became common, says Winthrop, 
to distinguish men by being under a covenant of grace, or a 
covenant of works, as in other countries, between Protestants 
and Papists. The mischief spread into all associations, civil as 
well as religious, "insomuch that the greater part of this new 
transported people stood still, many of them gazing one upon 
another, like sheep let loose to feed on fresh pasture, being 
stopped and startled in their course by a kennel of devouring 
wolves. The weaker sort wavered much, and such as were 
grown Christians hardly durst discover the truth they held one 
unto another. The fogs of error increasing, the bright beams 
of the glorious gospel of our Lord Christ, in the mouth of his 
ministers, could not be discerned through the thick mists by 
many ; and that sweet, refreshing warmth, that was formerly felt 
from the Spirit's influence, was now turned, in these errorists, to 
a hot inflammation of their own conceited revelations, ulcerating, 
and bringing little less than frenzy or madness to the patient." * 

* Wonder-working Providence, p. 100. 


In the midst of all this excitement and confusion, Mr. Shep- 
ard continued steadfast in the faith ; and through his vigilance, 
faithfulness, and discriminating ministry, the church of Newtown 
was preserved from the least taint of this heresy. He had been 
somewhat familiar with the doctrines and spirit of the Antino- 
mians in his younger days, in England, and he had sufficient 
"light to see through these devices of men's heads," which 
many of his brethren, able as they were, wanted ; and though it 
was a sad disappointment lo him to be called so soon into the 
heat of controversy, and " a most uncomfortable time to live in 
contention " with those who professed to be disciples of Christ, 
yet it was a duty he could not shun ; and he had the satisfaction 
and the honor of being a principal instrument in bringing this 
unhappy excitement to an end. 

One of the means by which he destroyed the influence of the 
heretics in his own congregation was the delivery of that admi- 
rable course of sermons upon the parable of the ten virgins, 
which, after his death, were published by his son Thomas, as- 
sisted by his successor, Mr. Mitchel. They were commenced in 
1636, when the leaven of Familism, or Antinomianism, was most 
powerfully at work among the people, and finished in 1640, when 
it was mostly purged away ; and were designed to refute the im- 
pudent heresy of that time, and establish the assaulted truth. 
They constitute the largest, and, in some respects, the most valu- 
able of his works, and are eminently adapted to expose all false 
religion, while real Christians will find in them abundant instruc- 
tion and encouragement. In the celebrated " Treatise on the Re- 
ligious Affections," President Edwards makes a freer use of this 
book than of any other. His whole work is pervaded hy its 
spirit, and he acknowledges, by nearly a hundred quotations, his 
obligations to Mr. Shepard for some of his profoundest thoughts. 
He rendered another important service to the colony during that 
stormy season by his election sermon. 

By the help of the pious Johnson, we obtain a glimpse of Mr. 
Shepard in the pulpit, as well as of his mode of handling this 
knotty subject. In the course of this "dismal year of 1636," 


a pious man, who, like many others, had left his native land to 
enjoy the liberty of the gospel here, arrived in New England, 
expecting to find the wilderness blossoming as the rose under 
the labors of the able ministers who had preceded him ; but, to 
his amazement, he found the whole country in a state of con- 
fusion, and was at once addressed in a new theological language 
which was entirely uninteTligible to him. " Take here," says 
Johnson, in his rude, quaint manner, referring to this man, " the 
sorrowful complaint of a poor soul in miss of its expectation at 
landing, who, being encountered with some of these errorists at 
his first landing, when he saw that good old way of Christ re- 
jected by them, and he could not skill in that new light which 
was the common theme of every man's discourse, he betook 
him to a narrow Indian path, in which his serious meditations 
soon led him where none but senseless trees and echoing rocks 
make answer to his heart-easing moan. ' 0,' quoth he, ' where 
am I become ? Is this the place where those reverend preach- 
ers are fled, that Christ was pleased to make use of to rouse up 
his rich graces in many a drooping soul ? Here have I met 
with some that tell me I must take a naked Christ. 0, woe 
is me ; if Christ be naked to me, wherewith shall I be clothed ? 
But methinks I most wonder they tell me of casting off all 
godly sorrow for sin, as unbeseeming a soul that is united to 
Christ by faith. And there was a little nimble-tongued woman 
among them, who said she could bring me acquainted with one 
of her own sex that would show me a way, if I could attain it, 
even revelations, full of such ravishing joy, that I should never 
have cause to be sorry for sin, so long as I live ; and as for 
her part, she had attained it already. " A company of legal 
professors," quoth she, " lie poring on the law which Chri:?t hath 
abolished, and when you break it, then you break your joy ; and 
now no way will serve your turn but a deep sorrow." These, 
and divers other expressions, intimate unto me that here I shall 
find little increase in the graces of Christ, through the hearing 
of his word preached, and other of his blessed ordinances. 0, 
cunning devil, the Lord Christ rebuke thee, that, under the 


pretense of a free and ample gospel, shuts out the soul from par- 
taking with the divine nature of Christ, in that mystical union of 
his blessed Spirit, creating and continuing his graces in the soul. 
My dear Christ, it was thy work that moved me hither to come, 
hoping to find thy powerful presence in the preaching of the 
word, although administered by sorry men, subject to like infirm- 
ities with others of God's people ; and also by the glass of the 
law, to have my sinful, corrupt nature discovered daily more and 
more, and my utter inability to any thing that is good, magnifying 
hereby the free grace of Christ, who, of his good will and pleas- 
ure, worketh in us to will and to do, working all our works in us 
and for us. But here they tell me of a naked Christ. What is 
the whole life of a Christian, but, through the power of Christ, 
to die to sin, and to live to holiness and righteousness, and to that 
end to be dihgent in the use of means ? ' 

"At the uttering of this word, he starts up from the green bed 
of his complaint, with resolution to hear some one of these able 
ministers preach, whom report had so highly valued, before his 
will should make choice of any one principle. Then, turning his 
face to the sun, he steered his course toward the next town ; and, 
after some small travel, he came to a large plain. No sooner 
was he entered thereon, but hearing the sound of a drum, he 
was directed toward it by a broad, beaten way. Following this 
road, he demands of the next man he met what the signal of 
the drum meant. The reply was made, they had as yet no bell 
to call men to meeting, and therefore made use of a drum. 
' Who is it,' quoth he, ' lectures at this town ? ' The other re- 
plies, 'I see you are a stranger, new come over, seeing you 
know not the man : it is one Mr. Shepard.' ' Verily,' quoth the 
other, ' you have hit the right. I am new come over, indeed, and 
have been told, since I came, that most of your ministers are legal 
preachers ; only, if I mistake not, they told me this man preached 
a finer covenant of works than the others. But, however, I 
shall make what haste I can to hear him. Fare you well.* 
Then, hastening thither, he crowdeth through the thickest, where 
having staid while the glass was turned up twice, the man was 
VOL. I. k 


metamorphosed, and Avas fain to hang down the head often, lest 
his watery eyes should blab abroad the secret conjunction of his 
affections, his heart crying loud to his Lord's echoing answer, to 
his blessed Spirit, that caused the speech of a poor, weak, 
pale-complexioned man to take such impression in his soul at 
present, by applying the word so aptly, as if he had been his 
privy councilor ; clearing Christ's work of grace in the soul from 
all those false doctrines which the erroneous party had aifright- 
ed him withal ; and he resolves, the Lord willing, to live and 
die with the ministers of New England, whom he now saw the 
Lord had not only made zealous to stand for the truth of his 
discipline, but also for the doctrine, and not to give ground one 
inch." * 

The Antinomian excitement reached its greatest height to-" 
ward the close of the year 1636 and the beginning of 1637. 
Though defeated at the annual election in their attempt to con- 
tinue Vane — the head of their party — in the office of governor, 
the Antinomians were powerful enough to menace the safety of 
the state as well as of the churches. They were every where 
bold, impudent, and restless. When they were complained of in 
the civil courts for misdemeanors, or summoned before the church 
for question or censure, they had many respectable and influen- 
tial persons to defend them, and to protest against any sentence, 
civil or ecclesiastical, which might be passed against them ; and 
when they were condemned, there were enough to raise a 
mutiny against the government on their behalf. Great efforts 
were made, both by magistrates and ministers, to heal this plague 
in the church. Innumerable sermons were preached against the 
erroneous doctrines. Conferences were held with the leaders of 
the fanatics, sometimes privately before the elders, sometimes 
publicly before the whole congregation, where they had liberty 
to say all that could be said in defense of their sentiments, and 
were heard with great patience. Every thing which individual 
influence could do was done to root out these pestilent opinions, 
and to restore peace to the distracted colony. 

* TN'onder-working Providence, pp. 100-104. 


At length, when all hope of removing this evil by the usual 
means was given up, the General Court, in consultation with the 
ministers, determined to call a synod of all the churches in New 
England, for the purpose of settling this controversy, agreeably 
to the example of the primitive church, referred to in the Acts 
of the Apostles. Three things were judged expedient as a 
necessary preparation for this great measure ; a general fast, to 
seek the divine presence with the synod ; a collection of all the 
erroneous opinions, amounting to above eighty, which it might 
be necessary to discuss ; and a friendly conference with Mr. 
Cotton, respecting any expressions of his which might have 
seemed to give countenance to the errors that were troubling 
the country. 

These preparatory steps having been taken, the proposed 
synod was convened at Newtown, August 30, 1637. That Mr. 
Shepard was a prominent agent in procuring this synod, and a 
very influential member of it, is evident from many circum- 
stances, particularly from the fact that Mr. Hooker, in April pre- 
ceding, addressed to him a letter dissuading him from using his 
influence in its behalf. " Your general synod," says Mr. Hooker, 
" I can not yet see either how reasonable or how salutary it will 
be for your turn, for the settling and establishing the truth in 
that honorable way as were to be desired. My ground is this : 
they will be chief agents in the synod who are chief parties 
in the cause ; and for them only who are prejudiced in the con- 
troversy to pass sentence against cause or person — how im- 
proper ! how unprofitable ! My present thoughts run thus : 
That such conclusions which are most extra, most erroneous, and 
cross to the common current, send them oVer to the godly 
learned to judge in our own country, and return their apprehen- 
sions. I suppose the issue will be more uncontrollable. If any 
should suggest this was the way to make the clamor too great 
and loud, and to bring a prejudice upon the plantations, I should 
soon answer. There is nothing done in corners here but it is openly 
there related ; and in such notorious cases, which can not be kept 
secret, the most plain and naked relation ever causeth the truth 


most to appear, and prevents all groundless and needless jealous- 
ies, whereby men are apt to make things more and worse than 
thej are." * We have no letter of Mr. Shepard in reply to 
this ; but it can not be doubted that he did answer these argu- 
ments against the propriety of determining the disputed points 
by a synod, and it was his answer, probably, "that changed Mr. 
Hooker's thoughts in relation to this matter. However that 
may be, it is certain that the Connecticut pastor afterward 
took a different view of the subject, and judged it expedient 
to attend the synod, and to take a leading part in all its pro- 

The synod, consisting of all the ministers and messengers of 
the New England churches, together with a few who had recent- 
ly arrived, but were yet unsettled, was organized by the choice 
of Mr. Hooker and Mr. Buckley, joint moderators. The first 
session was opened by JVIr. Shepard with one of his " heavenly 
prayers." After the organization of the synod, the erroneous 
opinions which had been spread through the country, some of 
them, as Cotton declared, blasphemous, some incongruous, and 
all unsafe, together with the texts of Scripture which had been 
perverted in support of them, and certain " unsavory speeches," 
that had been used in the heat of dispute, were read and fully 
discussed, and finally unanimously condemned. The synod 
continued in session about a month, and all the Antinomians, 
who desired it, had liberty to be present, and freedom of speech, 
restrained only by the laws of order and decency. There was, 
says Shepard, " a most wonderful presence of Christ's spirit in 
that assembly," and the general result of its deliberations was, 
that, through the grace and power of Christ, the pernicious 
errors which had well nigh brought the church to desolation 
" were discovered, — the defenders of them convinced and 
ashamed, — the truth established, — and the consciences of the 
saints settled." The public condemnation of these errors, and 
the testimony of the synod against them, were subscribed by 

* Huchinson's Hist. Mass. vol. i. 


nearly all the ministers and messengers present; but some, 
among whom was Mr. Cotton, while they reprobated the leading 
doctrines of the Antinomians, and all the monstrous inferences 
from them, as sincerely and as deeply as any members of the 
synod, declined subscribing the Result, because subscription was 
a word of ill omen among the Puritans. The doings of the synod, 
sustained by the zealous cooperation of the ministers and the 
uninfected portion of the churches, finally resulted in the restora- 
tion of sound doctrine and of good order among the people. 
All the churches accepted the result, and generally with entire 
unanimity, with the exception of the church in Boston. Mr. 
Wheelwright and Mrs. Hutchinson, the leaders of the Antino- 
mian party, together with a few of their followers, after civil 
and ecclesiastical process, were excommunicated, banished, or at 
least forced from the colony, (Mr. Vane having previously 
returned to England,) not for their errors of opinion alone, but 
on account of the disorganizing and destructive influence which 
the public maintenance of those errors exerted upon the peace 
and welfare of the community. Many of the ignorant and en- 
thusiastic people, who had been misled by the appearance of 
eminent piety in their new guides, when those who had se- 
duced them into error were gone, returned penitently to the 
churches and the ministry which they had abandoned, and were 
received by their brethren into renewed fellowship, with joy and 
gratitude to God for his healing mercy ; and Mr. Wheelwright 
himself, after seven years of banishment, publicly confessed and 
renounced his errors, and was restored to his former standing in 
church and state, which he enjoyed for nearly forty years, with 
the reputation of a humble and worthy minister of Christ. Thus 
terminated the first great temptation of our fathers in the wilder- 
ness — an event which, through the ignorance of some, and the 
perverse spirit of others, has been frequently spoken of to the 
reproach, not of the guilty tempters, but of those wise and holy 
men, who, by the word of God, and prayer, effectually resisted 
the evil, and preserved the churches from one of the worst and 
most destructive forms of errors. " And so the Lord," says 


Shepard, " within one year, wrought a great change among us, 
having delivered the country from war with the Indians and 
Familists, who rose and fell together." 


Mr. Shepard's vigilance with respect to the manner of organizing churches. 

— Gathering of the church at Dorchester. — Letter to Eichard Mather. — 

— Interest in education. — Commencement of Harvard College. — Why 
the college was placed at Newtown. — Difficulty with Mr. Eaton. — 
Marries Joanna Hooker. — Death of Mr. Harlakenden. — Mr. Shepard's 
work interrupted by sickness. — Letter of Mr. Bulkley. — How employed 
at this time. 

While Mr. Shepard was thus watchful over the interests of his 
own flock, and zealous in the public vindication of the true doc- 
trines of grace against the abominable errors of the Antinomians, 
his advice and assistance were often sought in the organization of 
new churches in the colony ; and in such cases, as a wise master 
builder, he was careful to see that the materials with which he built 
were of the right kind, and that they were securely placed upon 
the " foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself 
being the chief corner stone." One instance will serve as a 
specimen of his wisdom and fidelity in this respect. In the early 
part of this " dismal year of 1636," while a multitude of " chafly 
hypocrites " and ignorant fanatics were thronging into the coun- 
try, and many of the churches were suffering under the deadly 
influence of unsound members, he was called to attend a council 
for the organization of the second church in Dorchester, a great 
part, if not the whole, of the first having removed to Connecticut. 

The confession of faith, laid before the council by Mr. Mather, 
was found to be orthodox and satisfactory ; but when the per- 
sons who were to constitute the church came to relate their 
experience, the elders refused to organize them, on the ground 
that they were " not meet, at present, to be the foundation of a 
church." Many of them built their hope upon " dreams, and 


ravishes of the spirit by fits ; " or upon mere " external reforma- 
tion ; " or " upon their duties and performances ; " wherein they dis- 
covered " three special errors : 1. That they had not come to 
hate sin because it was filUiyj but only left it because it was hurt- 
ful. 2. That they had never truly closed with Christ, or, rather, 
Christ with them, but had made use of him only to help the im- 
perfection of their sanctification and duties, and had not made 
him their wisdom, righteousness, sanctification, and redemption. 
3. That they expected to believe by some power of their own, 
and not only and wholly from Christ." * Mr. Shepard, whose 
experience of God's work of grace in the heart was widely dif- 
ferent from this, deeming their evidences unscriptural and delu- 
sive, successfully opposed their organization into a church at 
that time. After his return home, he wrote the following letter 
to Mr. Mather, vindicating the course which he pursued at the 
council, and exhibiting his views respecting the materials of 
which churches should be formed. It is a letter which is not 
without deep significance and interest at the present day, when 
the same errors of experience are common, and many churches 
have a far greater proportion of wood, hay, and stubble, than of 
gold and precious stones, in their composition. 

" Dear Brother : 

" As it was a sad thing to us to defer the uniting of your people 
together, so it would add affliction to my sorrow, if that yourself, 
(whom the Lord hath abundantly qualified and fitted for him- 
self,) and church, and people should take to heart too much so 
solemn a demur and stop to the proceedings of those that were 
to be united to you. For what would this be but a privy quar- 
reling with the wise providence of our God, who knows what 
physic is best to be given, and a grieving indeed for that good 
hand of God in which we ought abundantly to rejoice ; for I am 
confident of it, that there is nothing in this cup so bitter, but, by 
waiting a while, yourself and people will find such sweetness in 

* Winthrop's Journal, i. 184. 


the bottom and conclusion of it, as shall make you and them 
a double amends. 

" David had a great desire to build the temple, and he was 
content with the sad message of the prophet, he must not do it, 
his son should. It was quite honor enough unto him to provide 
stuff for it. I persuade myself the Lord intends to do more for 
you, and by you, in the place where the Lord hath set you, and 
that he will honor you with a more glorious service than that of 
vSolomon ; to build him a temple, not of stones, but of saints, 
elect and precious. Yet you know how many years Solomon 
waited before the temple came to be erected. 

" All the stones of it were hewn and hammered out in Mount 
Lebanon, so that no ax or hammer was heard knocking while 
the temple was a-building. (1 Kings vi. 7.) O, let not a little 
waiting be sad or grievous to you, while your people are preparing 
themselves, or the Lord, rather, is preparing them, to be built 
on the foundation stone ; that when you meet again together, 
there may not be any hammer heard, any doubt made, any pause 
occasioned, by any neglect of them in not seeking to gather their 
evidences better, both to quiet their own souls before the Lord, 
and to satisfy the consciences of other men. 

"As for myself, I was very loth to speak, but I thought — 
and I have found it since — that I should neither be accounted 
faithful to the church that sent me, neither should I manifest the 
tenderness of the good of your people, if I had not spoken what 
I did. I did confess, and do confess still, that although there 
were divers weaknesses in most, which I did and do willingly, 
with a spirit of love, cover and pass by, as knowing what I am 
myself, yet there were three of them, chiefly, that I was not sat- 
isfied scarce in any measure with their profession of faith. Not 
but that I do believe upon your own trial of them — which, I 
persuade myself, will not be sHghty in laying a foundation — but 
that they might have grace, yet because we came not here to find 
gracious hearts, but to see them too. It is not faith, but a visible 
faith, that must make a visible church, and be the foundation of 
visible communion ; which faith, I say, because my weakness 


could not see in some of them by their profession, I therefore 
spake what I did with respect to yourself, and tenderness also 
to them, that so they might either express themselves more fully 
for satisfaction of the churches, — which I did chiefly desire, — 
or if there were not time for this, that they might defer till another 
time, which you see was the general vote of all the churches. 
Which course I have thought, and do think, hath this threefold 
good wrapped up in it. 

" 1. That if your people, then doubtful to us, be indeed sin- 
cere, this might make them more humble, and make them search 
themselves more narrowly, and make them cast away all 
their blurred evidences, and get fairer and show better, and so 
find more peace, and keep more close to God than ever before. 
And on the contrary, if they be unsound, that this might be a 
means to discover them ; for either you will find them proud, 
passionate, and discontented at this, — which I believe is far from 
all of them, — or else you will see that this doth little good, and 
works little upon them ; which unto my own self would be a 
shrewd evidence of little or no grace, if the majesty and pres- 
ence of God in so many churches so ready to receive you should 
work no more awe, nor sad laying to heart such a sentence 
as this hath been. For believe it, brother, we have been gener- 
ally mistaken in most men and in great professors ; these times 
have lately shown, and this place hath discovered, more false 
hearts than ever we saw before. And it will be your comfort to 
be very wary and very sharp in looking to the hearts and spirits 
of those you sign yourself unto, especially at first, lest you meet 
with those sad breaches which other churches have had, and all by 
want of care and skill to pick forth fit stones for so glorious a 
foundation as posterity to come may build upon and bless the 

" 2. By this means others will not be too forward to set upon 
this work, who, after sad trial, will be found utterly unfit for it. 
For it is not a work for all professors, nor for all godly men, to 
lay a foundation for a church, for many godly men may have some 
odd distempers that may make for the ruin of the building, there- 


fore not fit for a foundation; many godly men are weak and 
simple, and unable to discern, and so may easily receive in such 
as may afterward ruin them, hence unfit to lay a foundation. Not 
that I judge thus of your people. I dare not think so ; but if 
those that be fit have been thus stopped in their way, how will this 
make others to tremble and fear in attempting this work, less 
able than yourselves ! 

" 3. By this means, I believe and hope that the communion 
of saints will be set at a higher price, when it is seen that it 
is not an honor that the Lord will always put on, nor bestow and 
give away unto his own people. I do therefore entreat you in 
the Lord, that you would not hang down your head, but rejoice 
at this good providence of the Lord, which will abound so much 
to his praise and your future peace. Neither let it discourage 
you, nor any of your brethren, to go on in the work for after 
times ; but having looked over their own evidences a little better, 
and humbled their souls for this, and thirsting the more after 
the Lord in his temple and ordinances, while with David they 
are deprived for a season of them, that hereafter you would 
come forth again, (it may be some of your virgins have been 
sleeping, and this may awaken them,) with your lamps trimmed, 
your lamps burning, your wedding garments on to meet the bride- 
gi'oom. And if others will fall and sleep again, and not get 
their oil when they have had this warning, what do they do but 
discover themselves to be but foolish ones, who, though they 
knock hereafter, and cry. Lord, Lord, it may be Christ nor his 
spouse will never let them in. 

" Thus with my unfeigned love to all your brethren, whom I 
honor and tender in the Lord, with my poor prayers for you and 
them, that in his time he would unite and bring you together, I 
rest, in great haste. 

Your brother in Christ, 

Thomas Shepard.* 
"From Newtown, (Cambridge,) 
"April 2, 1636." 

* Transcribed from the original MS. in the Mass. Hist. Soc, by Bev. 
N. Adams, D.D. 


The answer of Mr. Mather to this faithful and truly apostoli- 
cal letter was worthy of a Puritan and a Christian. Instead of 
that self-sufficient and insubordinate spirit with which adverse 
decisions of councils are now frequently met by ministers and 
churches, Mr. Mather acknowledges the justness of the rebuke, 
cordially submits to the authority of the council, and expresses 
the deepest gratitude for the faithfulness of his brethren. 
" As for what you spake that day," he says to Mr. Shepard, 
" I bless the Lord for it. I am so far from any hard thoughts 
toward you for the same, that you have, by your free and faith- 
ful dealing that day, endeared yourself in my esteem more than 
ever, though you were always much honored and very dear to 
me. And blessed be the name of the Lord forever, that put it 
into your hearts and mouths, all of you, to express yourselves as 
you did ; for we now see our unworthiness of such a privilege 
as church communion is, and our unfitness for such a work as to 
enter into covenant with himself, and to be accepted of his 
people. ... If the counterfeiting Gibeonites were made 
hewers of wood and drawers of water, because they beguiled 
Israel to enter into league and covenant with them, when they 
were not the men that they seemed to be, it is as much as we are 
worthy of, that we may be hewers of wood, etc., for the churches 
here, because we attempted a league and covenant with our 
churches, and were not worthy of such a matter, nor meet to be 
covenanted with, though — blessed be the Lord for it — the 
heads of the congregation of the Lord's Israel here were not so 
hasty, and rash, and credulous as they were in the days of Joshua. 
. . . But you will say. Why, then, did you present yourself 
with the people before the Lord and the churches ? I will tell you 
the truth therein. They pressed me into it with much importu- 
nity, and so did others also, till I was ashamed to deny any longer, 
and laid it on me as a thing to which I was bound in conscience 
to assent to ; because if I yielded not to join, there would be, 
said they, no church at all in this place ; and so a tribe, as it 
were, should perish out of Israel, and all through my default. 
This kind of arguing, meeting that inward vainglory, which I 


spake of before, was it that drew me forward, and prevailed 
against the consciousness of my own insufficiency, and against 
that timorousness that I sometimes found in myself. ... It 
was pride that induced me to yield to their importunity, be- 
cause I was desirous to have the praise and glory of being 
tractable and easy when entreated, and not to be noted for a- 
stubborn and of a stiff spirit. . . . But why, then, did 
we bring stones so unhammered and unhewn — evidences of 
faith no fairer, etc. ? In this, sir, you lay your finger upon 
our sore directly; neither can we here put in any other plea 
but guilty. The good Lord pardon, saith Hezekiah, every one 
that prepareth his heart to seek God, though he be not cleansed 
according to the purification of the sanctuary. Let us beg the 
help of your prayers for pardon herein, as Hezekiah did par- 
don for that people, and for more grace and care that, if we ever 
come forth again for the same purpose, — which, for my part, I 
am much afraid to do, — we may not come to the dishonor of 
God, and grief of his saints, as at the last time we did. The 
Lord render you a rich and plentiful reward for your love and 

" To my dear friend and loving brother, 
Mr. Thomas Shepard, at Newtown." 

Nothing can be more beautiful than the temper exhibited in 
these letters. We hardly know which to admire most, the Chris- 
tian faithfulness and love of the pastor of Cambridge, or the 
meekness, humility, and thankfulness for reproof, expressed by 
the pious minister of Dorchester. " Let the righteous smite 
me," says the Psalmist ; " it shall be a kindness ; and let him 
reprove me ; it shall be an excellent oil, which shall not break 
my head ; for yet my prayer also shall be in their calamities." 
Mr. Shepard, upon receiving Mr. Mather's reply, must have 
felt as Paul did when he witnessed the effect of his Epistle 
upon the Corinthians. " Though I make you sorry with a let- 
ter, I do not repent, though I did repent ; for I perceive that 
the same epistle hath made you sorry, though it were but for a 


season. . . . For ye were made sorry after a godly man- 
ner, that ye might receive damage by us in nothing." It is 
necessary only to add, that the people of Dorchester, humbled 
and instructed by the opinion and faithful dealing of the council, 
" came forth again," in the month of August following, for the 
purpose of being organized into a church, not now " to the dis- 
honor of God," or " to the grief of his saints," but with the 
approbation and sanction of their scrupulous brethren, and to 
the glory of the Redeemer. Mr. Mather was immediately 
ordained pastor of the church, and continued to preside over it 
with distinguished ability and success, until his death in 1669, in 
the seventy-third year of his age. 

But Mr. Shepard did not confine his care and labors to the 
churches. Among the institutions which he regarded as of pre- 
eminent importance, and which it was his earnest desire to see 
established in the colony, was a college, to be, as he expresses it, 
" a nursery of knowledge in these deserts, and a supply for poster- 
ity." The great object of our fathers, in coming to this country, 
was not merely to escape fines and imprisonment for Noncon- 
formity. They wished, it is true, for liberty to worship God 
according to the dictates of their own consciences, and they 
shrunk with a natural dread from the severe penalties of laws 
which they could not obey without sin ; but they had a nobler 
object than personal safety. They had conceived the idea of a 
Christian commonwealth, widely different, in its form and princi- 
ples, fi:om any that then existed in the world ; and this idea they 
began to realize as soon as they set foot upon these shores. 
Besides, therefore, the instruction which their children received 
at the fireside, and in the primary schools, they wanted an institu- 
tion for the education and training of young men for the learned 
professions, and especially for the Christian ministry, without 
which all their labor and sacrifices would be in vain. The impor- 
tant stations occupied by the able and learned founders of the 
church and state would soon be vacant ; and even if a sufiicient 
number of scholars could be procured from the parent country to 
fill them, yet those who were educated abroad, under an entirely 
VOL. I. / 


different religious and political constitution, could not be so 
thoroughly acquainted with the grounds of" the (uvil and religious 
institutions, nor so much attached to the interests of the colonj, 
as children who were born and educated here. As soon, there- 
fore, says one of the early settlers, as " Grod had carried us safely 
to New England, and we had builded our houses, provided neces- 
saries for our own livelihood, reared convenient places for God's 
worship, and settled the civil government, one of the next things 
we longed for and looked after was, to advance learning and 
to perpetuate it to posterity, dreading to leave an illiterate minis- 
try to the churches, when our present ministers shall lie in the 
dust." * 

The plan of founding a college in Massachusetts was brought 
before the General Court at its session at Newtow^n in Septem- 
ber, 1636. It was then resolved that such an institution should 
be immediately commenced, and the sum of four hundred pounds 
was immediately appropriated as the beginning of a fund for its 
endowment — a grant which, inadequate as it confessedly was, yet 
considering the poverty of the colony, and the distractions pro- 
duced by the " war with the Indians and the Familists," which 
was then raging, must be regarded as very liberal. 

The place selected for the college was Newtown, which, in 
honor of the university where most of the early New Eng- 
land fathers were educated, was thenceforth called Cambridge. 
For this choice of Newtown as the seat of the new university 
there w^ere two weighty reasons. One was, that through the 
influence of Mr. Shepard, under God, the congregation in this 
place had been preserved from the contagion of Antinomian- 
ism, which was then threatening the utter dissolution of the Bos- 
ton church, and had begun to contaminate many other churches 
in the colony. The other is thus stated by Johnson : " To 
make the whole world understand that spiritual learning was 
the thing they chiefly desired, to sanctify the other, and make 
the whole lump holy, and that learning, being set upon its right 

* New England's First i'ruits, p. 12. 


object, might not contend for error instead of truth, they chose 
this place, being then under the orthodox and soul-flourishing 
ministiy of Mr. Thomas Shepard ; of whom it may be said, 
without any wrong to others, the Lord by his ministry hath 
saved many a hundred souls." * 

The fund created by the grant of the General Court was, in 
1639, enlarged by the donation of between seven and eight hun- 
dred pounds from John Harvard of Charlestown, — being half 
of his estate, — together with the whole of his library of two 
hundred and sixty volumes; and in honor of him, as the chief 
benefactor, the institution was named Harvard College.f Na- 
thaniel Eaton, brother of Theophilus Eaton of New Haven, was 
the first instructor in this infant seminary. He was intrusted 
with the management of the funds, as well as with the instruction 
of the students. The funds he squandered, and toward his 
pupils he manifested a disposition at once cruel and mean. For 
his abusive treatment of his usher, Mr. Briscoe, and for some 
other sins as great, though not so notorious, he was dismissed 
from office, fined twenty pounds for the satisfaction of Briscoe, 
excommunicated by the church of Cambridge, and finally com- 
pelled to leave the colony.J 

In this unhappy and disgraceful affair, Mr. Shepard, at first, 
innocently enough, took the wrong side. Eaton professed, " em- 
inently, yet falsely and most deceitfully," to be a Christian ; 
and the good pastor of Cambridge, who knew no guile, was for 
a long time ignorant of his great wickedness. On one occasion 
he beat poor Briscoe with " a walnut-tree plant, big enough to 
have killed a horse," until the whole neighborhood was alarmed 
by the cry of murder. Mr. Shepard, rushing into the house at 
the outcry, and seeing Briscoe with his knife in his hand, took 
it for granted that the usher, and not the master, was to blame, 
and immediately complained of him to the governor, "for his 
insolent speeches, and for crying out murder, and drawing his 
knife ; " demanding that he should be required to make a public 


* Wonder- working Providence, 164. 

t Winthrop's Journal, ii. 81, 342. J Ibid. 1^308. 


acknowledgment of his violence. And when Eaton, after much 
labor with him in private, had reluctantly confessed his guilt, 
Mr. Shepard, and several of the elders, " came into court, and 
declared how, the evening before, they had taken pains with him 
to convince him of his faults ; " that he had " freely and fully 
acknowledged his sin ; " that they " hoped he had truly repent- 
ed," and therefore " desired of the court that he might be par- 
doned and continued in his employment ; alleging such further 
reasons as they thought fit." * But Mr. Shepard was not long 
deceived in respect to Eaton's real character. He soon saw 
things in their true light, and cordially assented to the sentence 
by which the hypocrite was expelled from office, and cut off 
from the fellowship of the church ; mourning deeply over this 
great scandal to the cause of truth, and especially lamenting 
his own " ignorance, and want of wisdom and watchfulness," in 
relation to the guilty man. Eaton fled from the colony, and 
afterward sent for his wife and children to come to him in 
Virginia. Her friends in Cambridge urged her to delay the 
voyage for a while ; but she resolved to go, and the vessel in 
which she sailed was never heard of afterward.f This disaster 
deeply affected Mr. Shepard ; and though he was in no sense 
chargeable with the sad fate of this unhappy family, he called 
himself to account as if he were in some measure guilty of their 
blood. In his diary, under date of June 3, 1640, he says, 
" When tidings came to me of the casting away of Mrs. Eaton, 
I did learn this lesson — whenever any affliction came, not to 
ruh up my former, old, true humiliation, but to be more humbled; 
for I saw I w^as very apt to do the first. And I blessed God 
for the light of this truth." 

Mr. Shepard's first wife, who had shared with him the dan- 
gers of persecution in England, and the hardships of his flight 
to the asylum which had been providentially prepared for him • 
in this country, died, as has been already stated, in February, 
1636; and his son Thomas, then about ten months old, was 

* Winthrop's Journal, i. 311. t Ibid. ii. 22. 


placed under the care of a Mrs. Hopkins, who was probably one 
of the company that came over with them. For a season, there- 
fore, while he was engaged in these public labors, amidst the 
distracting controversies, and other evils, which, as a leading 
man in the colony, he could not avoid, his own house was left 
unto him desolate ; and he was obliged to encounter afflictions 
abroad, without those comforts of home to which he had been 
accustomed in his former trials, and which his usually feeble 
health rendered necessary. 

It was natural, therefore, that he should think of another 
connection, and endeavor to rekindle the fire upon his own 
hearth. " A prudent wife," the sacred writer tells us, " is from 
the Lord ; " and Mr. Shepard soon obtained this great blessing. 
In the month of October, 1637, he married Joanna, the eldest 
daughter of his early friend and counselor, Mr. Hooker, with 
whom he had been long acquainted, and whose extraordinary 
fitness for the station she was required to fill he fully understood. 
This connection proved to be eminently suitable ; and all the 
expectations which he and his friends had formed respecting her 
as a wife, as a mother, and as a helper in the great work which 
was at that time tasking and exhausting his energies, were much 
more than realized. 

The year after his marriage, he suffered a great loss in the 
death of his early and devoted friend Roger Harlakenden. The 
family of Harlakenden, as the reader will remember, had been 
the protectors and supporters of Mr. Shepard, when, in England, 
he was hunted from place to place by the pursuivants, and 
obliged to hide himself from the wrath of the bishops. The 
two brothers, Richard and Roger, having been converted under 
bis preaching, were ever among his warmest friends ; and Roger, 
unwiJling to be separated from the powerful and " soul-flourish- 
ing ministry" which had been so highly blessed to his soul, 
came and settled with his pastor in Cambridge. Mr. Shepard 
(Calls him a " most dear friend, and precious servant of Jesus 
Christ." He was of such reputation in the colony that he was 
thre© times chosen assistant ; and his influence must have been 


of the greatest service to the church and i(s minister. He died 
of small-pox, November 17, 1638, being only twenty-seven 
years of age. " He was," says Winthrop, " a very godly man, 
and of good use both in the commonwealth and in the church. 
He was buried with military honors, because he was lieutenant 
colonel. He left behind a virtuous gentlewoman and two daugh- 
ters. He died in great peace, and left a sweet memorial behind 
him of his piety and virtue." * 

Soon after the death of Mr. Harlakenden, Mr. Shepard Iwm- 
self was brought to the borders of the grave by a disease, which 
was probably brought on by over-exertion, hardship, and grief. 
The manner in which he himself speaks of it leads us to this 
conclusion. " I fell sick," he says, " after Mr. Harlakenden's 
death, my most dear friend, and most precious servant of Jesus 
Christ ; and Avhen I was very low, and my blood much corrupted, 
the Lord revived me ; and after that took pleasure in me, to 
bless my labors, so that I was not altogether useless nor fruitless." 
That his sickness — whatever might have been its nature — was 
so severe as to bring death very near, apparently, not only to his 
own mind, but also to awaken painful apprehensions in the public 
mind respecting his danger, is evident from a letter addressed 
to him by Mr. Bulkley, one of the moderators of the late synod, 
soon after his recovery. 

"Dear Sir: I hear the Lord hath so far strengthened 
you, as that you were the last Lord's day at the assembly. 
The Lord go on with the work of his goodness toward you. 
Being that now the Lord hath enabled you thus far, I desire 
a word or two from you, what you judge concerning the teachers 
in a congregation, whether the administration of discipline and 
sacraments do equally belong unto them with the pastor, and 
wdiether he ought therein equally to interest himself. I would 
also desire you to add a word more concerning this, viz., what you 
mean by the execution of discipline, when you distinguish it from 

* Winthrop's Journal, i. 278. 


the power. We have had speech sometimes coucerning the 
church's power in matters of discipline, wherein you seemed 
to put the power itself into the hands of the church, but to re- 
serve the execution to the eldership. I would see what you 
comprehend under the word execution. I would gladly hear 
how the common affairs of the church stand with you. I am 
here shut up, and do neither see nor hear. Write me what you 
know. Let me also know how Mr. Phillips doth incline, whether 
toward you or otherwise ; and what way Mr. Rogers is like to 
turn, whether to stay in these parts or to go unto Connecticut. 
I wrote to you not long ago, advising you to consider quid valent 
humeri ; I know not whether you answered that letter. The 
Lord in mercy bless all your labors to his church's good. Re- 
member my love to Mrs. Shepard, with Mrs. Harlakenden. 
Grace be with you all. 

Yours in Christ Jesus, 


"February 12, 1638." 

From this letter, it is evident, not only that Mr. Shepard's 
illness had been such as to interrupt his public labors, and excite 
some degree of alarm among his friends, but also, incidentally, 
that his labors in the pulpit, and with the pen, were so great as, 
perhaps, to retard his complete recovery, and to render necessary 
some fraternal advice that he should spare himself a little. " I 
wrote you not long ago, advising you to consider quid valent hu- 
meri " — what your shoulders are able to bear ; a caution which 
he seems not to have laid to heart, for he continued to labor beyond 
his strength, and to take upon his shoulders a weight which they 
were not able to sustain. His laborious preparation for preach- 
ing, and his public labors for the good of the churches and the 
prosperity of the commonwealth, were probably the burden 
which Mr. Bulkley feared he would not be able to bear. 

As to those points of ecclesiastical order upon which Mr. 
Bulkley asks for information, no reply from Mr. Shepard has been 

* Hutchinson's MS. Papers, vol. i., in Mass. Hist. Soc. Library. 


preserved; but his opinions in relation to them are fully ex- 
pressed in his published works. What they were will be seen when 
"we come to speak of the services which Mr. Shepard rendered 
in settling the principles upon which the early Congregational 
'»hurches were organized. 


Mr. Shepard on the point of removing to Matabeseck. — Cause of his em- 
barrassments. — Letter from Mr. Hooker. — State of Mr. Shepard's mind 
during this season. — Extracts from his diary. — Difficuhy removed. — 
Birth of children. — Samuel Shepard. — Letters from Mr. Hooker. 

In the year 1640, Mr. Shepard, in addition to his other afflic- 
tions, was plunged into almost inextricable embarrassment with 
respect to his affairs, which had well nigh compelled him to re- 
move to some other plantation, or to return to England. This 
embarrassment was occasioned by the depressed state of the 
colonists with respect to the means of meeting their pecuniary 
obligations. The influx of settlers had ceased in consequence of 
the change of affairs in England ; and this sudden check to im- 
migration had an immediate effect upon the price of cattle, etc. 
While the inhabitants continued to multiply, a farmer, who could 
spare but one cow in a year out of his stock, used to clothe his 
family with the price of it at the expense of the new cpijiers ; when 
this failed, they were put to great ditficulties.^ Some of the coIq^ 
nists, in the prospect of a thorough reformation in England, began 
to think of returning to their native land. ^' Others, despairing of 
any more supply from thence, and yet not knowing how to live 
there if they should return, bent their minds wholly to removal 
to the south parts, supposing they should find better means of 
subsistence there, and for this end put off their estates here at 
very low rates. These things, together with the scarcity of 
money, caused a sudden and very great abatement of the pricef 

* Hutchinson, I^i^t. Mass. 1. 92. 


of all our commodities. Corn was sold ordinarily at three shil- 
lings the bushel, a good cow at seven or eight pounds, and some 
at five, and other things answerable, whereby it came to pass that 
men could not pay their debts, for no money nor beaver were 
to be had ; and he who last year, or but three months before, 
was worth one thousand pounds, could not now, if he should sell his 
whole estate, raise two hundred pounds, whereby God " taught us 
the vanity of all outward things ! " " The scarcity of money made 
a great change in all commerce. Merchants would sell no wares 
but for ready money. Men could not pay their debts, though they 
had enough. Prices of cattle fell soon to the one half and less, 
yea, to a third, and after, to one fourth part."* For the relief 
of the people, at this season of unexpected trial, the court, in 
October, 1640, ordered that, for all new debts, corn should be a 
legal tender ; Indian corn to be received at four shillings, sum- 
mer wheat at six shilUngs, rye and barley at five shillings, and 
pease at six shillings per bushel ; and that upon all executions for 
old debts, the officer should take land, houses, corn, cattle, fish, 
or other commodities, and deliver the same in full satisfaction to 
the creditor at such prices as should be fixed by three inteUigent 
and indifferent men, to be chosen, one by the creditor, another by 
the debtor, and the third by the marshal ; the creditor being at 
liberty to make choice of any goods in the possession of the 
debtor, and if there were not sufficient goods to discharge the 
debt, then he might take house or land.f 

What the exact amount of Mr. Shepard's nominal salary was, 
at this time, is not known ; but from the report of a committee, 
appointed a few years later to make inquiries in relation to the 
maintenance of ministers in the vicinity of Cambridge, a tolera- 
bly accurate idea may be formed as to his means of subsistence. 
Mr. Hobart, of Hingham, received ninety pounds a year, one 
third in wheat, one third in corn, and the remainder in pease. 
Mr. Mather, of Dorchester, received one hundred pounds, pay- 

* Wiuthrop's Journal, II. 21, 18. 

t Winthrop's Journal, II. 7. Felt's Massachusetts' Currency, p. 23. 


able in corn, and in work as he might have occasion for it. Mr. 
Eliot and Mr. Danforth, of Roxbury, sixty pounds each, in 
corn ; Mr. Allen, of Dedham, sixty pounds, in com and work ; 
Mr. Flint and Mr. Thompson, of Braintree, fifty-five pounds 
each, in corn ; Mr. Wilson, of Medfield, sixty pounds, in corn. 
Mr. Shepard's salaiy was not, probably, greater than that of his 
friends in the neighboring towns, nor paid in a different manner. 
And when the scarcity of money became so great that the com, 
in which his salary was paid, could neither be sold for cash nor 
exchanged at the merchant's for the various other necessaries of 
life, nor — until the order of court above referred to — made 
a legal tender for any debt, his situation, as well as that of all 
the ministers in the colony, who had no means of subsistence 
except their stipulated amount of corn, must have been well 
nigh desperate. And if, in addition to the unavoidable pres- 
sure which had come upon him, any of the people — before 
the price of com, as part of the circulating medium, bad been 
fixed by the court — unfairly charged their minister the price 
which this commodity bore the year before, when it had suddenly 
fallen to one third, or to one quarter, of its former value, and, as 
Winthrop says, " would buy nothing," the evil would, of course, be 
greatly aggravated. Reduced to great extremity with respect 
to his maintenance, Mr. Shepard contemplated a removal to 
Matabeseek, a settlement upon the Connecticut River, which was 
afterward called Middletown. To this step he was urged by 
Mr. Hooker, his father-in-law, in the following interesting letter, 
never before published, which strongly insinuates that there had 
been some injustice and unfair dealing, as well as poverty, among 
the people, with respect to the payment of their debts. 

" Dear Son : Since the first intimation I had from my 
cousin Samuel, when you were here with us, touching the number 
and nature of your debts, I conceived and concluded the conse- 
quences to be marvelous desperate, in the view of reason, in 
truth, unavoidable, and yet insupportable ; such as were likely to 
ruinate the whole. For why should any send commodities, much 


less come themselves, to the place, when there is no justice 
amongst men to pay for what they take, or the place is so forlorn 
and helpless, that men can not support themselves in a way of 
justice, and therefore there is neither sending nor coming, unless 
they will make themselves and substance a prey ? And hence to 
weary a man's self to wrestle out an inconvenience, when it is 
beyond all possibilities which are laid before a man in a rational 
course, is altogether bootless and fruitless, and is to increase a 
man's misery, not to ease it. Such be the mazes of mischievous 
hazards, that our sinful departures from the right and righteous 
ways of God bring upon us, that, as birds taken in an evil net, 
the more they stir, the faster they are tied. If there was any 
sutSciency to make satisfaction in time, then respite might send 
and procure relief ; but, when that is wanting, delay is to make 
many deaths of one, and to make them all more deadly. 

" The first and safest way for peace and comfort is to quit a 
man's hand of the sin, and so of the staying of the plague. 
Happy is he that hath none of the guilt in the commission of 
evils sticking to him. But he that is faulty, it will be his happi- 
ness to recover himself by repentance, both sudden and seasona- 
bly serious ; and when that is done in such hopeless occasions, it 
is good to sit down under the wisdom of some word. That which 
is crooked nobody can make straight, and that which is wanting 
none can supply, (Eccl. i. 15 ;) and then seek a way in heaven 
for escape, when there is no way on earth that appears. You 
say that which I long since supposed ; the magistrates are at 
their wit's end, and I do not marvel at it. 

" But is there, then, nothing to be done, but to sink in our 
sorrows ? I confess here to reply, and that upon the sudden, is 
wholly beyond all my skill. Yet I must needs say something, if 
it be but to breathe out our thoughts, and so our sorrows. I say 
ours, because the evil will reach us really more than by bare 
sympathy. Taking my former ground for granted, that the 
weakness of the body is such that it is not able to bear 
the disease longer, but is like to grow worse and more unfit 


for cure, — which I suppose is the case in hand, — then I can 
not see but of necessity this course must be taken : — 

" 1. The debtors must freely and fully tender themselves and 
all they have into the hands, and be at the mercy and discretion, 
of the creditors. And this must be done nakedly and really. It 
is too much that men have rashly and unjustly taken more than 
they were able to repay and satisfy ; therefore they must not add 
falsehood and dissimulation when they come to pay, and so not 
only break their estate, but their consciences finally. I am afraid 
there be old arrearages of this nature that lie yet in the dark. 

" 2. The churches of the commonwealth, by joint consent and 
serious consideration, must make a privy search what have 
been the courses and sinful carriages which have brought in 
and increased this epidemical evil ; pride and idleness, excess in 
apparel, building, diet, unsuitable to our beginnings or abil- 
ities ; what toleration and connivance at extortion and oppres- 
sion ; the tradesman willing the workman may take what he 
will for his work, that he may ask what he will for his com- 

" 3. When they have humbled themselves unfeignedly be- 
fore the Lord, then set up a real reformation, not out of 
politic respects, attending our own devices, but out of plain- 
ness, looking at the rule, and following that, leave the rest to 
the Lord, who will ever go with those who go his own way. 

" His prcemissis : I can not see in reason, but if you can sell, 
and the Lord afford you any comfortable chapmen, but you 
should remove. For why should a man stay until the house 
fall on his head ? or why continue his being there where in 
reason he shall destroy his substance? For were men mer- 
chants, how can they hold it, when men either want money 
to buy withal, or else want honesty, and will not pay ? The 
more honest and able any persons or plantations be, their 
rates will increase, stocks grow low, and their increase little or 
nothing. And if remove, why not to Matabeseck? For may 
be the gentlemen will not come, and that is most likely ; or, 


if they do, they .will not come all ; or if all, is it not prob- 
able but they may be entreated to abate one of the lots ? or, 
if not abate, — if they take double lots, — they must bear 
double rates : and I see not but all plantations find this a main 
wound, they want men of abilities and parts to manage their 
affairs, and men of estate to bear charges. I will tell thee 
mine whole heart: considering, as I conceive, your company 
must break, and considering things ut supra, if you can sell, 
you should remove. 

'• If I were in your places, I should let those that must and 
will transplant themselves as they see fit, in a way of provi- 
dence and prudence. I would reserve a special company, — but 
not many, — 'and I would remove hither. For I do verily think 
that either the gentlemen will not come, or, if they do, they may 
be over-entreated not to prejudice the jflantation by taking too 
much. And yet, if I had but a convenient spare number, I do 
believe that would not prove prejudical to any comfortable sub- 
sistence ; for able men are most fit to carry on occasions by their 
persons and estates with most success. These are all my thoughts ; 
but they are inter nos ; use them as you see meet. I know to 
begin plantations is a hard work ; and I think I have seen as 
much difficulty, and come to such a business with as much dis- 
advantage, as most men could do, and therefore I would not 
press men against their spirits. When persons do not choose a 
work, they will be ready to quarrel with the hardness of it. This 
only is to me beyond exception : if you do remove, considering 
the correspondence you have here of hearts, and hands, and 
helps, you shall never remove to any place with the like advan- 
tage. The pillar of fire and cloud go before you, and the Father 
of mercies be the God of all the changes that pass over your 
head." . . . Totus tuus, 

T. Hooker.* 

"Nov. 2, 1640. 

" Sint mutu^e preces in perpetuum." 

* Hutchinson s MS. Papers, vol. i. pp. 37-40. 
VOL. I. Wi 


In a subsequent letter, but without date, Mr. Hooker refers 
again to the subject of Mr. Shepard's removal. 

" Touching your business at Matabeseck ; this is the compass 
of it : Mr. Fen wick is willing that you and your company should 
come thither upon these terms : Provided that you will reserve 
three double lots for three of the gentlemen, if they come ; that 
is, those three lots must carry a double proportion to that which 
yours take. If they take twenty acres of meadow, you must 
reserve forty for them ; if thirty, threescore for them. This is 
all we could obtain, because he stays one year longer in expecta- 
tion of his company, at the least some of them ; and the like 
hath been done in Quinipiack, and hath been usual in such be- 
ginnings. Therefore we were silent in such a grant, for the 
while. Consider, and write back your thoughts. I am now 
weary with writing, an4 I suppose you will be with reading. 
The blessing of Him that dwelt in the bush dwell with you for- 
ever. Totus tuus, 

T. Hooker."* 

The general state of Mr. Shepard's mind in view of this con- 
templated removal, and the painful circumstances which had 
brought him into these straits, may be inferred from some re- 
marks found in his diary during this gloomy season. 

" February 14, 1640. When there was a church meeting to 
be resolved about our going away, viz., to Matabeseck, I looked 
on myself as poor, and as unable to resolve myself or to guide 
others or myself in any action, as a beast ; and I saw myself in 
respect of Christ as a brute is in respect of a man. And hence I 
left myself on Christ's wisdom." 

It is a peculiar feature in all Mr. Shepard's references to his 
trials, that he never complains of outward difficulties, — never 
manifests any impatience under his losses and privations, — 
never blames those by whom he has been made to suffer, — but 
always condemns himself, and makes every untoward event in 

* Hutchinson's MS. Papers, vol. i. 


his life a means of humbling and bringing him nearer to God. 
When he was silenced and driven forth as a fugitive by Bishop 
Laud, he thought it was "for his sins" that the Lord thus set 
his adversaries against him. 

It is, indeed, impossible to discover, by reading his diary, how- 
great, or of what kind, his external trials were ; or even whether, 
at this time, there were any particularly trying circumstances in 
his condition ; and it was not until after long examination, and a 
very fortunate accident, as it might be called, that the extract 
above, standing as it does without any explanation, was found to 
relate to embarrassments which threatened the very existence of 
his congregation in Cambridge. As illustrations of this feature, 
the following passages, taken almost at random from his diary 
during this season, may be given : — 

"December 1. A small thing troubled me. Hence I saw, 
that though the Lord had made me that night attain to that part 
of humiliation to see that I deserved nothing but misery, yet I 
fell short in this other part, viz., to submit to God in any cross- 
ing providence or command, but had a spirit soon touched and 
provoked. I saw also that the Lord let sin and Satan prevail 
there, that I might see my sin, and be more humbled by it, and 
so get strength against it." 

" January 11. In the morning the Lord presented to me the 
sad state of the church ; which put me upon a spirit of sorrow for 
my sins as one cause, and to resolve in season to go visit all 
families. But first to begin with myself, and go to Christ, that 
he may begin to pour out his ointment on me, and then to my 
wife, and then to my family, and then to my brethren." 

" January 30. When I was in meditation, I saw, ivhen Christ 
was present^ all blessings were present ; as where any were with- 
out Christ present, there all sorrows were. Hence I saw how 
little of Christ was present in me. I saw I did not cease to be 
and live of myself, that Christ might be and live in me. I saw 
that Christ was to do, counsel, and direct, and that I should be 
wholly diffident of myself, and careful for this, that he might be 
all to me. Hence I blessed Christ for showing me this, and 
mourned for the want of it." • 


"February 1. When I was on my bed a Monday morn in,£^, 
the Lord let me see that 1 was nothing else but a mass of sin, 
and that all I did was very vile. Which when my heart was 
somewhat touched with, immediately the Lord revealed himself 
to me in his fullness of goodness, with much sweet affection. 
The Lord suddenly appeared, and let me see there was strength 
in him to succor me, wisdom to guide, mercy in him to quicken, 
Christ to satisfy ; and so I saw all my good was thei-e, as all evil 
was in myself." 

" February 9. I considered, when I could not bring Christ's 
will to mine, I was to bring mine to his. But then it must be 
thus: 1. That if ever he gives my desire, it will be infinite 
mercy, and so his wall is good. 2. If he doth not, yet I de- 
served to be crossed, and to feel nothing but extremity." 

It is probable that, at the church meeting referred to February 
14, the plan of removing to Matabeseck was throroughly discussed, 
and in view of expected relief finally given up. For on the next 
day, February 15, we find the following entry in his diary : " I 
was in prayer, and in the beginning of it, that promise came in, 
* Seek me, and ye shall liveJ Hereupon I saw I had cause to 
seek him only, always ; because there was nothing 'else good, 
and because he w^as always good. And my heart made choice 
of God alone, and he was a sweet portion to me. And I began 
to see how well I could be without all other things with him ; 
and so learnt to live by faith." Again, under date of March 2, 
1641, he says, " I was cast down with the sight of our unwor- 
thiness in this church, deserving to be utterly wasted. But 
the Lord filled my heart with a spirit of prayer, not only to 
desire small things, but with a holy boldness to desire great 
things for God's people here, and for myself, viz., that I might 
live to see all breaches made up, and the glory of the Lord upon 
us ; and that I might not die, but live to show forth God's glory 
to this and the children of the next generation. And so I rose 
from prayer with some confidence of an answer — 1 . Because I 
saw Christ put it into my heart to ask ; 2. Because he was true 
to hear all prayer." 


Still later, we find the following passage : — 

"October 29. I was much troubled about the poverty of the 
churches ; and I saw it was such a misery as I could not well 
discern the cause of, nor see any way out. Yet I saw we might 
find out the cause of any evil by the Lord's stroke. Now, he 
struck us in outward blessings, and hence it is a sign there was 
our evil: 1. In not acknowledging all we have from God, (Hos. 
ii. 8 ;) 2. In not serving God in having them ; 3. In making 
ourselves secure and hard hearted ; for lawful blessings are the 
secret idols, and do most hurt ; and it is then a sign our greatest 
hurt lies in having, and that the greatest good lies in God's taking 
them away from us. Whereupon I, considering this, did secretly 
content myself that the Lord should take all from us, if it 
might be not in wrath, but in love, hereby to glorify himself 
the more, and to take away the fuel of our sin. I saw that, if 
the Lord's people could be joyfully content to part with all to 
the Lord, yjrizing the gain of a little holiness more than enough 
to overbalance all their losses, that the Lord then would do us 

One more extract from his meditations at this time will suffice. 
" July 23. As I was riding to the sermon, (lecture at Charles- 
town,) my heart began to be much disquieted by seeing almost 
all men's souls and estates out of order, and many evils in men's 
hearts, lives, courses. Hereupon my heart began to withdraw 
itself from my brethren and others. But I had it secretly 
suggested to me, that Christ, when he saw evils in any, he 
sought to amend them, did not presently withdraw from them, 
nor was not perplexed and vexed only with them. And so I 
considered, if I had Christ's Spirit in me, I should do so. And 
when I saw that the Lord had thus overcome my reasonings and 
visited me, I blessed his name. I saw, also, the night before 
this, that a child of God, in his solitariness, did wrestle against 
temptation, and so overcome his discontent, pride, and jDassion." 

This event in the life of Mr. Shepard is exceedingly interest- 
ing, not only as throwing light upon the trials and hardships to 
which our fathers in the ministry were subjected in the early 


days of New England, but especially as it brings out, in a strik- 
ing manner, a prominent and beautiful feature of Mr. Shepard's 
piety. The purity of gold is tested by the crucible ; and this 
trial of a faith " more precious than of gold that perisheth," devel- 
oped a state of mind which, amidst the abounding hypocrisy and 
selfishness of the world, it is most delightful to contemplate. The 
manner in which he stayed himself upon God, and rebuked his 
discontent, and quietly continued his labors, under a burden of 
debt and of want, which, upon ordinary principles, would have 
justified his removal, may serve as a model of ministerial patience 
and faithfulness for us at the present day. Ministers are doubt- 
less subjected to many trials growing out of an insufficient main- 
tenance ; and the people may be more or less in fault for the em- 
barrassments which distract their pastors. But a hasty removal 
to Matabeseck is not the only cure ; nor will impatience, and dis- 
couragement, and complaint make the burden any lighter. If, in 
such circumstances, a minister can, like Shepard, make the trou- 
bles of his outward estate the means of rendering him more 
humble, more prayerful, more submissive to the will of God, 
more desirous of glorifying Christ by a faithful service, he may 
live to see " all breaches made up, and the glory of the Lord 
upon him." He will not die of starvation, but " live to show 
forth God's glory to this and the children of the next gener- 
ation." More of the spirit of our fathers, under the unavoida- 
ble pressure of Providence, or the injustice and selfishness of the 
people, would in the end produce a great change in the state of 
things ; would render the ministry more permanent and more re- 
spected, and the people more just and benevolent ; would give the 
lie to the charge that ministers labor merely for hire, and produce 
in the public mind a deep conviction that those who preach the 
gospel are really the servants of Him, " who, though rich, for 
our sakes became poor, that we, through his poverty, might be 
rich." The injustice of the people in withholding an ample 
support, when it is in their power to give it, is not hereby justi- 
fied, but rebuked in the most effectual manner ; and perhaps 
nothing would be so likely to make the altar rich enough in 


external offerings to supply all the Avants of those who minister at 
it, as that supreme regard to the interests of the church and the 
honor of Christ, of which Shepard gives us such a beautiful 

Of Mr. Shepard's domestic affairs, subsequent to the period 
referred to above, little is known, except what he has incidentally 
told us in his invaluable but too brief account of himself. That 
he suffered many privations in consequence of the general pov- 
erty of the people, is probable ; and that amidst all his afflictions 
he labored with a zeal that consumed him, is certain. In Octo- 
ber, 1641, he says, " I was very sad to see the outward wants of 
the country, and, what would become of me and mine, if we 
should want clothes and go naked, and give away all to pay our 
debts. Hereupon the Lord set me upon prizing his love, and the 
Lord made me content with it. And there I left myself, and 
begged this portion for myself and for my child, and for the 
church." Again : " Oct. 2. On Saturday night and this morning 
I saw, and was much affected with, God's goodness unto me, the 
least of my father's house, to send the gospel to me. And I saw 
what a great blessing it would be to my child, if he may have it, 
that by my means it comes to him. And seeing the glory of this 
mercy, the Lord stirred up my heart to desire the blessing and 
presence of his ordinances in this place, and the continuance of 
his poor churches among us, looking on them as means to pre- 
serve and propagate the gospel. And my heart was, for this end, 
very desirous of mercy, outward and inward, to sustain them, for 
his own mercy's sake. And so I saw one strong motive to pray 
for them, even for posterity's sake, rather than in England, where 
so much sin and evil was abounding, and where children might 
be polluted. And I desired to honor the Lord better, that I 
might make him known to this generation." Again : " Oct. 9. 
On Saturday morning I was much affected for my life ; that I 
might live still to seek, that so I might see God, and make 
known God before my death." These extracts from his diary, 
a book of choice thoughts, worthy to be the daily companion of 
every minister, show that with respect to his appropriate 


work he was diligent, and, notwithstanding his outward trials, 

During the nine years which elapsed between Mr. Shepard's 
second marriage and the death of his excellent wife, three children 
were born to him. The first, a boy, died "before he saw the 
sun, even in the very birth." The second, Samuel, was born 
October 18, 1641, at the time of 'Mr. Shepard's greatest domestic 
privation and ditRculty. The third was also a son, named John, 
who, after a brief and sickly life of four months, '• departed on 
the Sabbath morning, a day of rest, to the bosom of rest." 

TVith respect to Samuel, we find the following reference in the 
diary, from which several passages have been already quoted: — 

" October 18. On Monday morning my child was born. 
And when my wife was in travail, the Lord made me pray that 
she might be delivered, and the child given in mercy, having 
had some sense of mercy the day before at the sacrament. But 
I began to think. What if it should not be so, and her pains be 
long, and the Lord remember my sin ? And I began to imagine, 
and trouble my heart with fear of the worst. And I understood 
at that time that my child had been born, and my wife delivered 
in mercy already. Hereupon I saw the Lord's mercy, and my 
own folly to disquiet my heart with fear of what never shall be, 
and not rather to submit to the Lord's will ; and come what can 
come, to be quiet there. When it was born, I was much affected, 
and my heart clave to the Lord, who gave it. And thoughts 
came in that this was the beginning of more mercy for time to 
come. But I questioned. Will the Lord provide for it ? And I 
saw that the Lord had made man (especially the church and 
their posterity) to great glory, to praise him_, and hence would 
take care of him. . . . And I saw^ God had blessings for all 
my children ; and hence I turned them over to God." 

This son, whom Mr. Shepard and his friends were wont to 
call " Little Samuel," was brought up in the family of his grand- 
father Hooker, at Hartford. We catch a glimpse of him by 
means of a delightful letter from ]Mr. Hooker to Mr. Shepard, 
without date, but written, as we should judge from a passage in 


it, just before the second meeting of the synod which agreed 
upon the platform, and probably after the death of Samuel's 

" Dear Son : This being the first messenger which I under- 
stand comes into your coasts, I was glad to embrace the opportu- 
nity, that I might acquaint you with God's dealings and our own 
condition here. The winter hath been exceeding mild and 
favorable above any that ever yet we had since we came into 
these ends of the earth. Thus the Lord is pleased to cross the 
conceits of the discontented, and accommodate the comforts of 
his servants beyond their expectations, and is able to do the like 
in other things, were we as fit to receive them as he is willing to 
dispense them to us. Myself, wife, and family enjoy our wonted 
health. My little Sam is very w^ell, and exceedingly cheerful, 
and hath been so all this time, — grows a good scholar. The 
little creature hath such a pleasing, winning disposition, that it 
makes me think of his mother almost every time I play with 
him. . . . 

Totus tuus, 

T. Hooker.* 

" Saluta salutandos Mr. Cotton, Mr. Dunster, etc." 

In another letter, apparently subsequent to the preceding, Mr. 
Hooker again speaks with a grandfather's tenderness of his 
" Little Sam : " — 

" My little bed-fellow is well. I bless the Lord, and I find 
what you related to be true ; the colder the weather grows, 
the more quiet he lies. I shall hardly trust any body with him 
but mine own eye. Young ones are heavy headed, and if once 
they fall to sleep they are hard to awake, and therefore unfit to 
help. My wife wishes you, by advice, to give something to little 
John, to prevent the jaundice. Preventing physic is best. By 

* Hutchinson's MS. Papers, vol. i. p. 90. 


this time I am wearj Avith writing, and I suppose you may be so 
with reading. My eyes grow dim, and my hand much worse, 
though never good, and therefore my pen is very unpleasant ; yet 
I couhl not but communicate my thoughts with you, according to 
my custom. 

" My wife and friends salute you. Sam remembers his duty ; 
is very thankful for his things you sent, which are received. 

" The blessing of Heaven be with you. 

Totus tuus, 

T. Hooker.* 

" September 17, 1646." 

It is only necessary to add, that Samuel Shepard was graduated 
at Harvard College in 1 658 ; was ordained the third minister of 
Rowley in 1662, and died April 7, 1668, at the early age of 
twenty-seven. " He was," says Mr. Mitchel, " a pious, holy, 
meditating, able, choice young man — one of the first three. 
He was an excellent preacher, and most dearly beloved at Row- 
ley. The people would have plucked out their eyes to have 
saved his life." 


Mr. Shepard's plan for procuring funds for the support of indigent students. 
— Defense of the Nine Positions. — Letter from IVIr. Hooker. — Character 
of the answer to Ball. — Mr. Cotton's opinion of the work. — Influence 
of Mr. Shepard in procuring the Cambridge Platform. — Letter from Mr. 
Hooker. — Character of the platform. — Commendation of Higginson and 
Oakes. — Birth of a son, and sudden death of Mrs. Shepard. 

In consequence of the general poverty and destitution of the 
colony referred to in the foregoing chapter, which had almost 
driven Mr. Shepard from Cambridge, the college, in whose pros- 
perity he felt the deepest interest, was in a languishing condition. 

* Hutchinson's MS. Papers, vol. i. p. 100. 


Its funds were altogether insufRcieiit to accomplish the purpose 
for which it was founded ; and such was the scarcity of money, 
that many young men, who were desirous of obtaining a liberal 
education, were utterly unable to meet the expense of a resi- 
dence at Cambridge. At this crisis, Mr. Shepard, ever fore- 
most in promoting the cause of religious education in the colony, 
conceived the plan of procuring voluntary contributions of corn 
— money being out of the question — from all parts of New 
England, for the maintenance of indigent students. When the 
commissioners of the united colonies of Massachusetts, Plym- 
outh, Connecticut, and New Haven met at Hartford, in 1644, 
Mr. Shepard, being in Connecticut, laid his plan before that body 
in the following noble memorial: — 


" Those whom God hath called to attend the welfare of reli- 
gious commonwealths have been prompt to extend their care 
for the good of public schools, by means of which the common- 
wealth may be furnished with knowing and understanding men 
in all callings, and the church with an able minister in all places ; 
without which it is easy to see how both these estates may de- 
cline and degenerate into gross ignorance, and consequently into 
great and universal profaneness. May it please you, therefore, 
among other things of common concernment and public benefit, 
to take into your consideration some way of comfortable main- 
tenance for that school of the prophets that now is. For al- 
though hitherto God hath carried on the work by a special hand, 
and that not without some evident fruit and success, yet it is 
found by too sad experience, that, for want of some external sup- 
plies, many are discouraged from sending their children, though 
pregnant and fit to take the least impression thereunto ; others 
that are sent, their parents enforced to take them away too soon 
to their own homes too oft, as not able to minister any comfort- 
able and seasonable maintenance therein ; and those that are 
continued, not without much pressure, generally, to the feeble 
abilities of their parents or other private friends, who bear the 


burden therein alone. If, therefore, it were recommended by 
you to the freedom of every family that is able and willing 
to give, throughout the plantations, to give but the fourth part 
of a bushel of corn, or something equivalent thereto ; and to 
this end, if every minister were desired to stir up the hearts of 
the people, once in the fittest season of the year, to be freely en- 
larged therein ; and one or two faithful and fit men appointed in 
each town to receive and seasonably to send in what shall be thus 
given by them, — it is conceived, that, as no man would feel any 
grievance hereby, so it would be a blessed means of comfortable 
provision for the diet of divers such students as may stand in need 
of some support, and be thought meet and worthy to be contin- 
ued a fit season therein. And because it may seem an unmeet 
thing for this one to suck and draw away all that nourishment 
which the like schools may need in after times in other colonies, 
your wisdom may therefore set down what limitation you please, 
or choose any other way you shall think more meet for this 
desired present supply. Your religious care hereof, as it can not 
but be pleasing to Him whose you are, and whom you now 
serve, so fruit hereof may hereafter abundantly satisfy you that 
your labor herein hath not been in vain." * 

This memorial was received by the commissioners with mucin 
favor. They cordially approved of Mr. Shepard's plan, and 
ordered that it should be recommended to the deputies of the 
several General Courts, and to the elders within the four colo- 
nies, to call for a voluntary contribution of one peck of corn, or 
twelve pence in money, or its equivalent in other commodities, 
from every family — a recommendation which was adopted by 
the courts, and very generally responded to with great alacrity 
by the people, suitable persons being appointed in all the towns 
to receive and disburse the donations.! 

Thus, through the influence of Mr. Shepard, the first chai 
itable provision for the support of indigent scholars in Nei 

* Hazard's State Papers, vol. ii. p. 17. t Winthrop's Journal, ii. 214. 


England was made at Cambridge ; and a noble example of zeal 
for the advancement of learning was exhibited, amidst poverty 
hardship, and sufferings, that might easily have been pleaded in 
excuse for the indefinite postponement of this work. Massachu- 
setts, in later times, has produced many liberal benefactors of 
Harvard and other colleges, but none deserving of higher honor 
than Shepard, and those public-spirited men whom he inspired 
with a zeal in behalf of this institution, which carried them to 
the extent of their power, " yea, and beyond their power," in 
supplying its wants. 

At this period of his life, Mr. Shepard was equally zealous 
and successful in the work of establishing and vindicating those 
principles, and that ecclesiastical polity, which have ever distin- 
guished Massachusetts as a religious commonwealth. In connec- 
tion with Cotton, Hooker, and Norton, he exerted a controlling 
influence in organizing and settling the Congregational churches 
upon that foundation where they have stood until this day. 

In the year 1636, a number of Puritan ministers in England, 
having been informed that the churches of New England had 
adopted a new mode of discipline, which many deemed erroneous, 
and which they themselves had formerly disliked, addressed to 
them a letter containing nine questions or propositions, upon 
which their mature opinion was requested ; at the same time 
assuring them,. that, if their answer was satisfactory, they should 
receive the right hand of fellowship ; if otherwise, their error 
should be pointed out and condemned. 

The propositions which the New England ministers were un- 
derstood to have 'adopted, and which they were now required to 
defend or to renounce, were the following, viz. : That a pre- 
scribed form of prayer, and set Liturgy, is unlawful ; that it is 
not lawful to join in prayer, or to receive the sacrament, where 
a prescribed Liturgy is used ; that the children of godly and ap- 
proved Christians are not to be baptized until their parents 
become regular members of some particular congregation; 
that the parents themselves, though of approved piety, are 
not to be received to the Lord's supper until they are ad- 
voL. I. n 


mitted as members ; that tlie power of excommunication is so in 
the body of the church, that what the major part shall decide 
must be done, though the parties, and the rest of the assembly, 
are of another mind ; that none are to be admitted as members 
unless they promise not to depart or to remove without the con- 
sent of the congregation ; that a minister is so the minister of a 
particular congregation, that, if they dislike him unjustly, or 
leave him, he ceases to be their minister ; that one minister can 
not perform any ministerial act in another congregation ; that 
members of one congregation may not communicate in an- 

This letter was immediately answered in a pamphlet contain- 
ing the views of the New England ministers upon these points, 
which were the same, in substance, as those maintained in Cot- 
ton's " Way of the Congregational Churches," and afterward 
more fully unfolded and vindicated in " The Power of the 
Keys." To this answer a reply was, at the request of the Eng- 
lish brethren, drawn up by Mr. John Ball, minister of Whitmore, 
near Newcastle, in Staffordshire, entitled " A Trial of the New 
Church "Way in New England and in Old." The first copy of 
this reply, sent in 1640, having miscarried, another was pre- 
pared, which, after much delay, finally came to hand about the 
year 1644. The manifold errors respecting the ecclesiastical 
polity of our fathers, and the gross misrepresentations of the 
principles and practices of these churches, which this book con- 
tained, induced Mr. Shepard, with the cooperation of Mr. Allen, 
of Dedham, to attempt a thorough discussion of these points, 
which he did in an elaborate treatise, entitled " A Defense of 
the Answer made unto the Nine Questions or Positions sent 
from New England, against the Reply thereto by that Reverend 
Servant of Christ, Mr. John Ball, entitled ' A Trial of the New 
Church Way in New England and in Old;' wherein, besides a 
more full Opening of sundry Particulars concerning Liturgies, 
Power of the Keys, Matter of the Visible Church, etc., is more' 
largely handled that Controversy concerning the Catholic 
Church ; tending to clear up the Old Way of Christ in New 


England Churches." The first edition of this book was printed 
at London, in 1648. In a subsequent edition, printed in 1653, this 
long and cumbrous title was abridged, and the name of Mr. Allen 
omitted, while the preface is subscribed with both names, as in 
the first edition.* 

In this treatise, Mr. Shepard explains and defends the views 
of our New England fathers, respecting the worship and dis- 
cipline of the church, with extraordinary learning, ability, and 
acuteness. Mr. Hooker, in a letter to Mr. Shepard, written 
about the time that the Questions made their appearance, had 
expressed the fear " that the first and second questions, touching 
a stated form of prayer," would " prove very hard to make any 
handsome work upon ; " and that " a troublesome answer might 
be returned to all the arguments." The answer to the Nine 
Positions had admitted that a form of prayer is not in itself un- 
lawful ; and Mr. Hooker feared, that, in defending this admission, 
Mr. Shepard would expose himself and his brethren to the charge 
of inconsistency. 

Notwithstanding Mr. Hooker's fears and forebodings, Mr. 
Shepard succeeded in making very " handsome work " upon all 
the points respecting which the author of the letter required 
satisfaction ; and gave an answer to Mr. Ball's reply, which, so 
far from involving the Congregationalists in difficulty, was the 
means of silencing the objections which had been made against 
them, and of satisfying the English brethren that their position 
was impregnable. He shows clearly that what Mr. Ball had 
stigmatized as " A New Church Way " was in truth no other 
than the " old church way of godly reformers ; " that " the mend- 
ing of some crooks in an old way " does not make a new road ; 
and that, in the constitution of the New England churches, both 
with respect to worship and discipline, the true scriptural model 
had been constantly kept in view. 

On the subject of a Liturgy, there was a slight shade of differ- 
ence between Mr. Shepard and his father-in-law. Mr. Hooker 

* Hanbury's Historical Memorials, iii. 33. 


thought it would be better to maintain that " all set forms are un- 
lawful, either in public or in private," than to defend Mr. Cot- 
ton's position. In a letter to Mr. Shepard, he sajs, " Mr. Ball, 
I suppose, hath a right and true cause to defend in the former 
part of his book, and handles it well ; and though I think it 
may receive another return, because there is some room for a 
reply, yet if he hit it in that, I suppose the next rejoin will 
silence. Only I confess, I had rather defend the cause upon this 
supposal — that all set forms are unlawful either in public or in 
private, than to retire to that defense of Mr. Cotton's ; that it is 
lawful to use a form in private, or occasionally in public, but not 
ordinarily ; for, to my small conceit, he doth in such a distinction 
tradere causam, and that fully. For if I may use a form in 
private, then a form hath not the essence of an image in it, 
against the second commandment, for that is not to be used at 
all ; then a stated form is not opposite to the pure worship in 
spirit and truth, for then it should not be used in private ; then 
to bring in a book for the performance of this duty is not to 
bring in an altar, for that would be unlawful in private. Again : 
if lawful to use a printed prayer in private, then hath it the 
essentials of true prayer ; then it is not of the same nature 
with preaching a printed sermon, or reading a homily, because 
neither of these have the essentials of preaching : hence a man 
may exercise the gift of prayer, and the graces of the Spirit in 
so praying, because it is a lawful prayer." * . . , 

Mr. Shepard, without discussing the question whether all forms 
of prayer, under all circumstances, are unlawful, declares that 
this was not the question upon which the Congregationalists 
separated from the church of England. It was the particular 
Liturgy of that church, — which " was the same that was in 
Popery for substance," having been " gathered out of the Mass 
Book," which required many unscriptural ceremonies and idola- 
trous gestures, — which was never commanded by God, but im- 
posed upon the church by the " insolent tyranny of the usurping 

* Hutchinson's MS. Papers, vol. i. 


prelates," — which had been " greatly abused Onto idolatry and 
superstition," — which made every part of its complex service a 
matter of life and death, — which was upheld and enforced by 
the whole physical power of the state, — it was this Liturgy that 
they renounced and condemned as a corrupt service book, which 
had been too long tolerated in the English churches. Mr. Ball 
had made a false issue in discussing the lawfulness of forms of 
prayer in general, while the whole controversy turned upon the 
lawfulness of submitting to this particular Liturgy. " All of us 
could not concur," says Mr. Shepard, " to condemn all set forms 
as unlawful ; yet we could in this, namely, that though some set 
forms may be lawful, yet it will not follow that this of the Eng- 
lish Liturgy is." It became necessary, therefore, to." distinguish 
of forms, and so touch the true Helena of this controversy ; and 
therefore if any shall observe Mr. Ball's large defense of set 
forms in general, they shall find those wings spread forth in a 
very great breadth to give some shelter and warmth to that par- 
ticular Liturgy then languishing, and hastening, through age and 
feebleness, toward its last end." * 

With respect to the discipline of the New England churches, 
Mr. Shepard clearly distinguishes Congregationalism from Brown- 
ism, (or Independency,) on the one hand, and from Presbyterian- 
ism on the other. Brownism, he shows, places the entire govern- 
ment of the church in the hands of the people, and drowns the 
voice of the pastors in a major vote of the brethren, who were 
content, as Ward of Ipswich wittily Observed, that the elders 
should " sit in the saddle, if they might hold the bridle." Pres- 
byterianism, on the contrary, commits the whole power of disci- 
pline to the presbytery of each church, or to the common presby- 
tery of many churches combined together by mutual consent, 
thus swallowing up the interests of the people of every congre- 
gation in the majority of the presbyteries ; while, in the 
organization of the Congregational churches, both extremes are 
here shown to be avoided by a wise and judicious distribution of 

* Defense of Nine Positions, ch. ii., passim. 


power into diflferent hands, which neither subjects the people 
to the arbitrary decision of the pastors, nor merges the author- 
ity of the pastors in the will of the majority.* 

Mr. Shepard here distinguishes between the power and the 
execution of discipline — the point upon which Mr. Buckley 
requested information in the letter which has been already re- 
ferred to. It belongs to the brethren, or body of the church, to 
censure an offending brother by admonition, suspension, or 
excommunication, as his offense may require ; but in handling 
offenses before the church, it is the prerogative of the pastor to 
declare the counsel and will of God respecting the matter, and 
to pronounce sentence by the authority of Christ with the consent 
of the brethren-t " We distinguish," says Mr. Shepard, " be- 
tween power and authority. There is a power, right, or privi- 
lege which is not authority, properly so called. The first is in 
the whole church, by which they have right to choose officers, 
receive members, etc. Authority, properly so called, we ascribe 
only to the officers, under Christ, to rule and govern, whom the 
church must obey." j 

It was falsely imputed to the Congregationalists, he says, that 
they " set up a popular government, making the elders of the 
church no more but moderators, and that ministers received their 
power from the people, were their servants, and administered in 
their name, when we oft profess the contrary — that all authority, 
properly so called, is in the hands of the elders, and the liberty 
of the people is to be carried in a way of .subjection and obedience 
to them in the Lord." § The office of the pastor, as he describes 
it in another place, " is the immediate institution of Christ ; the 
gifts and the power belonging thereto are from Christ imme- 
diately, and therefore he ministers in his name, and must give 
account to him ; and yet his outward call to this office, whereby 
he hath authority to administer the holy things of Christ to the 

* Defense of Nine Positions, eh. xiv. 

t Cambridge Platform, eh. x. 

X Defense of Nine Positions, p. 129. 

§ Preface to Defense of Nine Positions, p. 13. 


church, is from Christ by his church ; and this makes him no 
more the servant of the church than a captain, by leave of the 
general, chosen by the band of soldiers, is the servant of his band." 
" If," he goes on to say, " the power, privilege, and liberty of 
the people be rightly distinguished from the authority of the offi- 
cers, as it ought, a dim sight may easily perceive how the exe- 
cution of the keys, by the officers authoritatively, may stand 
with the liberties of the people in their place, obediently follow- 
ing and concurring with their guides, so long as they go along 
with Christ their King, and his laws ; and cleaving in their obe- 
dience to Christ, and dissenting from their guides, only when 
they forsake Christ in their administrations. If there need any 
ocular demonstration hereof, it is at hand in all civil adminis- 
trations wherein the execution of laws and of justice is in 
the hands of the judges, and the privilege, power, or liberty of 
the people in the hands of jurors. Both sweetly concur in every 
case, both civil and criminal. Neither is the use of a jury only 
to find the fact done, or not done, — as some answer this instance, 
— but also the nature and degree of the fact, in reference to the 
law that awards answerable punishments ; as, whether the fact 
be simple theft or burglary, murder or manslaughter, etc. ; 
and so in cases of damages, costs in civil cases, etc. ; whereby it 
appears that, although the power and privilege of the people be 
great, yet the execution, authoritatively, may be wholly in the 
officers." * From these principles it followed, as the platform 
afterward declared, that all church acts proceed after the man- 
ner of a mixed administration, in such a way that no church act 
can be regarded as valid without the consent of both.f 

Every thing, in short, necessary to a clear understanding of 
the discipline and order of the early New England churches, is 
explained and vindicated in this treatise, with a degree of learn- 
ing and ability unsurpassed in any work of our Puritan fathers ; 
and no one can read it attentively without assigning to its authors 

* Defense of Nine Positions, pp. 130, 131 
t Cambridge Platform, ch. x. 


a high place among the controversial writers of that age. The 
estimation in which this work was held by Mr. Shepard's con- 
temporaries may be inferred from a single sentence in Cotton's 
eloquent Latin Preface to Norton's Answer to ApoUonius, writ- 
ten in 1645, and printed at London in 164S. After speaking of 
the labors of Hooker, Davenport, and Mather with high com- 
mendation, he refers to Shepard and Allen, as men of eminent 
piety, distinguished for erudition, and powerful preachers, who 
had accomplished a great work for the church, by happily solv- 
ing some of the abstrusest points of ecclesiastical discipline in the 
answer to Ball ; and whose arguments, uttered in the spirit of 
piety, truth, and the love of Christ, were adapted to conciliate 
opposers, and recommend the order of our churches to all 

Upon the principles so ably unfolded and defended in 
this treatise, and in others already referred to, although 
not digested into a system, nor formally adopted, the churches 
of Massachusetts were founded, and all ecclesiastical affairs con- 
ducted, from the time of Mr. Cotton's arrival, in 1633, until the 
adoption of the Cambridge Platform in 1648. Mr. Shepard's 
personal agency in the production of this digest of the principles 
and uses of the churches does not appear very clearly in the history 

* Sepharedus (qui vcrnaculo idiomate Shepardus) una cum AUenio 
fratre, fratrum dulce par, uti eximia pietate florent ambo, et eruditione non 
niediocri, atque etiam mysteriorum pietatis praedicatione (per Christi 
gratiam) efficaci admodum, ita egregiam navarunt operam in abstrusissimis 
discipliniB nodis feliciter enodandis : et dum rei sponsum parent, atque 
nunc etiam edunt Domino Baleo, non illi quidem satisfactum eunt (qui 
satis jam aperte videt in beatifica Agni visione, introitus omnes atque 
exitus, formas et leges coelestis Hierusalem) sed iis omnibus, qui per univer- 
sam Britanniam in ecclesiis Christi peregrinantur, et rei disciplinarian studi- 
osius appellerunt. Verba horum fratrum uti suaviter spirant pietatem, 
veritatem, charitatem Christi ; ita speramus fore, (per Christi gratiam,) ut 
muUi qui a discipHna Christi alieniores erant, odore horum unguentorum 
Christi efFusorum delibati atque dehncti, ad amorem ejus et pellecti et per- 
tracti, earn avidius accipiant, atque araplexentur. 


of those times ; but there are several circumstances from which 
we may reasonably infer that it was very great. It has already 
been stated that Mr. Shepard was at Hartford in 1644, and laid 
before the commissioners for the united colonies, who met there 
at that time, a memorial touching some provision to be made for 
indigent students in Harvard College. Now, it so happened, 
that, at that meeting of the commissioners, the idea of a public 
confession of faith, and a plan of church government, to be ap- 
proved by the churches in a general synod, and published as a 
book of doctrine and discipline, was, so far as we know, first 
suggested and discussed.* Nothing is more probable than that 
Mr. Shepard suggested this plan to the commissioners, and urged 
them to adopt some measure by which it could be properly 
brought before the court and the churches. 

Be this, however, as it may, the commissioners at that time 
took the first step toward the convocation of the synod which 
produced the Cambridge Platform, by agreeing to lay this sub- 
ject before the General Court of Massachusetts. Accordingly, 
in the year 1646, a bill was brought into the General Court for 
calling a synod, to accomplish the end proposed by the commis- 
sioners. The magistrates readily passed the bill ; but there 
was a question among the deputies whether the court could le- 
gally require the churches to send their pastors and delegates to 
such a synod ; and a fear was expressed that if the civil authority 
should thus interpose in ecclesiastical matters, a precedent might 
be established which would justify the court in attempting to en- 
force upon the churches a uniformity entirely subversive of Chris- 
tian liberty. It was also objected that the sole purpose of the 
proposed synod was to construct a platform of discipline for all 
the churches, to be reported to the General Court for its approval, 
which seemed to imply that either the court or the synod had 
power to compel the churches to practice what should be thus es- 
tabhshed and recommended. In view of these objections, and 
from deference to the fears of those deputies who offered them, 

* Hazard's State Papers, II. 24. 


it was finally ordered that the synod should be called by way 
of a recommendation, and not of a command, addressed to 
the churches.* 

Mr. Hooker, writing to Mr. Shepard respecting the great ob- 
ject of this synod, expresses his views of the plan, and his fears 
lest the authority of the magistrate and the binding power of 
synods should be pressed too far. 

" Dear Son : We are now preparing for your synod. My 
years and infirmities grow so fast upon me, that they wholly dis- 
enable to so long a journey ; and because I can not come 
myself, I provoke as many elders as I can to lend their help and 
presence. My brother Stone and my cousin Stebbings come 
from our church, and I think the rest of the elders of the 
river will accompany them. The Lord Christ be in the midst 
among you by his guidance and blessing. ... I have returned, 
and do renew thanks for the letter and copy of the passages of 
the synod. I wish there may not be a misunderstanding of some 
things by some, or that the binding power of synods be not 
pressed too much. For — I speak it only to yourself — he that ad- 
ventures far in that business will find hot and hard work, or else 
my perspective may fail, which I confess may be : my eyes grow 
dim. I could easily give way to arguments that urge the help 
of a synod to counsel ; but as for more, I find no trouble in my 
thoughts to answer all I ever yet heard propounded. I find Mr. 
Kutherford and Apollonius to give somewhat sparingly to the 
place of the magistrate to put forth power in the calHng of syn- 
ods ; wherein I perceive they go cross to some of our most se- 
rious and judicious writers ; and, if I mistake not, they cross 
their own principles sometimes. I confess I am apt to give too 
much to the supreme magistrate in some men's thoughts, and 
I give not much to the church's authority. However, I shall not 
trouble you with my thoughts ; qui bene latuit bene vixit. I could 
have wished that none of the copies sent to us had been sent to 

* Hubbard's Hist. N. Eng. ch. 58. 


England ; the reason my brother Stone will relate when he sees 
you ; for it is too large, and not so safe to commit to paper. The 
blessing of Heaven be with you. 

" Entreat Mr. Eliot to send me some grafts of a great yellow 
apple he hath, Avhich I liked exceedingly when I was with him 
the last time. Totus tuns, 

T. Hooker." * 

The synod met at Cambridge in the autumn of the year 1646 ; 
but so late in the season, and so few of the pastors invited from 
the other colonies were able to be present, that, after a session of 
fourteen days, it was adjourned to the 8th day of June of the 
following year, 1647. 

They met according to adjournment ; but at the time of meet- 
ing a great sickness was prevailing in the country, and it was 
again adjourned to the 30th of September, 1648. At this meet- 
ing of the synod, the confession of faith, and platform of church 
government, after thorough discussion, were adopted and laid 
before the General Court for their approval ; and the court, at its 
next session, formally accepted and approved the platform, de- 
claring that it was what the churches had hitherto practiced ; 
and, in their judgment, as to its essential principles, altogether in 
accordance with the word of God. Thus the Cambridge Plat- 
form became a part of the laws and usages of the commonwealth 
of Massachusetts, and, for substance, is still followed by the Con- 
gregational churches throughout New England. 

Of this work it is scarcely possible to speak too highly. It 
was the production of men distinguished for preeminent talents, 
learning, and piety, — for their sacrifices and sufferings in the 
cause of religious liberty, — and for their untiring zeal for the 
prosperity of the church ; and, as a whole, may be pronounced 
the most scriptural and excellent model of church government 
which has been framed since the time of the apostles. The 
fathers of New England, both civil and religious, regarded it, 

* Iluchinson's MS. Papers, vol. i. 


and the authors of it, with extraordinary respect ; and if in these 
days there are any who profess to hold it in slight estimation, it 
is because they are either unacquainted with its real character, 
or have forsaken the faith and order of the Puritans. " We who 
saw the persons, who, from our famous colonies, assembled in the 
synod that agreed upon the Platform of Church Discipline," — 
such is the language of Higginson and Hubbard, near the close 
of that century, — " can not forget their excellent character. 
They were of great renown in the nation from which the Laud- 
ian persecution exiled them. Their learning, their holiness, 
their gravity struck all men with admiration. They were 
Timothys in their houses, Chrysostoms in their pulpits, Augus- 
tines in their disputations. The prayers, the studies, the humble 
inquiries, with which they sought after the mind of God, were as 
likely to prosper as any men's on earth. And the sufferings 
wherein they were confessors for the name and the truth of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, add unto the arguments which would persuade 
us that our gracious Lord would reward and honor them with 
communicating much of his truth unto them. The famous 
Brightman had foretold that God would yet reveal more of the 
true church state to some of his faithful servants, whom he 
would send into the wilderness, that he might have communion 
with them ; and it was eminently accomplished in what was 
done for and by the men of God that first erected churches for 
him in this American wilderness." * 

If the ecclesiastical principles, so clearly developed in the plat- 
form, were solemnly reaffirmed by a body, which, like the synod 
that formed it, should represent the Congregational churches of 
New England, and this book — with such modifications as time 
and change have rendered necessary — were universally re- 
ceived as authoritative in respect to church discipline, many 
growing evils might, perhaps, receive a check, and the unity and 
strength of our denomination be greatly promoted. Such a 
movement, devoutly to be wished by all who love the institutions 

* Higginson's and Hubbard's Testimony to the Order of the Churches. 


of the Puritans, may possibly find favor with the churches ; and 
Cambridge, the ancient place of synods, may again witness a gath- 
ering like that of 1648. In the mean time, the more closely we 
adhere to the scheme of ecclesiastical polity set forth by that 
venerable assembly, the more confidently may we expect that 
Congregationalism will maintain its ascendency in New England, 
and commend itself to the consciences and the hearts of intelli- 
gent Christians throughout our country. 

"While Mr. Shepard was thus engaged in labors abundant and 
fruitful for the advancement of the great work which he and his 
noble associates came into " these ends of the earth " to do, he 
was visited by an unexpected and grievous calamity. On the 
2d day of April, 1646, the Lord gave him another son, but took 
away his " most dear, precious, meek, and loving wife, in child- 
bed, after three weeks lying in," leaving him again desolate in his 
trials. Mrs. Shepard, from all that can be learnt of her, seems 
to have been worthy of the tender epithets which her bereaved 
husband here bestows upon her. She was evidently a woman 
of superior mind and attainments, of great prudence, of an 
exceedingly amiable disposition, and of eminent piety. " This 
afliiction," says Mr. Shepard, " was very great. She was a wo- 
man of incomparable meekness of spirit, toward myself especial- 
ly, and very loving ; of great prudence to care for and order 
my family affairs, being neither too lavish nor sordid in any 
thing, so that I knew not what was under her hand. . . . The 
Lord hath made her a great blessing to me to carry on matters 
ill the family with much care and wisdom. . . . She had 
an excellency to reprove for sin, and discern the evils of men. 
She loved God's people dearly, and was studious to profit by 
their fellowship, and therefore loved their company. She loved 
God's word exceedingly, and hence she was glad she could read 
my notes, which she had to muse on every week. She had a 
spirit of prayer beyond ordinary of her time and experience. 
She was fit to die long before she did die, even after the death 
of her first born, which was a great affliction to her. But her 
work not being done then, she lived almost nine years with me, 
VOL. I. o 


and was the comfort of my life to me ; and the last sacrament 
before her lying in seemed to be full of Christ, and thereby fitted 
for heaven. She did oft say she should not outlive this child ; 
and when her fever first begun, by taking some cold, she told me 
that we should love one another exceedingly, because we 
should not live long together. Her fever took away her sleep ; 
want of sleep wrought much distemper in her head, and filled it 
with fantasies and distractions, but without raging. The night 
before she died, she had about six hours' unquiet sleep. But 
that so cooled and settled her head, that when she knew none 
else, so as to speak to them, yet she knew Jesus Christ, and 
could speak to him ; and therefore, as soon as she awakened out 
of sleep, she broke out into a most heavenly, heart-breaking 
prayer after Christ, her dear Redeemer, for the Spirit of life, and 
so continued praying, to the last hour of her death, * Lord, though 
I am unworthy, one word — one word,' etc., and so gave up the 
ghost. Thus the Lord hath visited and scourged me for my 
sins, and sought to wean me from this world. But I have ever 
found it a difficult thing to profit even but a little by the sorest 
and sharpest afilictions." 


ludian mission. — Establishment of an Indian lecture at Cambridge. — Mr. 
Shepard's interest in the Indian mission. — " Clear sunshine." — Mr. 
Shepard marries Margaret Boradel. — Sickness and death. — Last will. 
— Mr. Shepard's preaching. — Opinion of contemporaries respecting his 
usefulness. — Character of Mr. Shepard's writings. — Objections against 
some of his practical works answered. — Letter to Giles Fermin. — Opin- 
ion of several divines respecting Mr. Shepard's works. — Personal reli- 
gion. — Conclusion. 

The labors and influence of Mr. Shepard, and of those good 
men with whom he was associated, were directed chiefly, as has 
been seen in the foregoing chapters, to the accomplishment of 
their first great undertaking, which was to found a truly Chris- 


tian commonwealth in New England, where they and their 
posterity might enjoy civil and religious freedom. But they 
did not forget or neglect another important work, which was to 
preach the gospel to the natives of this country, and to bring these 
poor outcasts to the knowledge of God. Many persons ignorant 
of the history of those times, and disposed to find fault with our 
fathers, not only with but without cause, have severely censured 
them for what has been called their unjust and cruel treatment of 
the poor Indians, their utter neglect of the wants, both temporal 
and spiritual, of the original owners of the soil, whom they vio- 
lently expelled, and the selfishness which characterized all their 
treatment of those to whom they owed their comfortable home 
on these shores. This is not the place fot the defense of the 
colonists from this charge, or for the history of early Indian 
missions in New England. That work belongs appropriately 
to the Life of Eliot, the "Apostle to the Indians." The only 
object in referring to the subject here is, to show how deeply 
Mr. Shepard was interested in all efforts to civilize and Chris- 
tianize the natives of Massachusetts. It will suffice to say — and 
the facts will warrant the assertion — that the government and 
the churches of this state, in their deep poverty and innumerable 
hinderances, did very much — as much, probably, in proportion 
to their ability — for the propagation of the gospel among the 
Indians on this part of the continent, as is done now, with all 
our means, for the conversion of the heathen abroad or at home. 
It is a fact which will ever be remembered td the glory of God, 
and to the praise of our fathers, that the first Protestant mission 
to the heathen, since the time of the apostles, was commenced 
among the Indians in the town of Cambridge in Massachusetts ; 
and that the first translation of the Bible by an Anglo-Saxon 
into a heathen language was made by John Eliot, pastor of the 
church in Roxbury, and printed at Cambridge, where the first 
Protestant sermon in a pagan tongue was delivered. Legal 
provision was made by the government for the support of 
preaching among these Indians. Schools were established for 
the instruction of their children. Courts were established for 


the especial purpose of protecting their rights, and of punishing 
trespasses against them. Great and good men, among whom 
EHot and Shepard stand preeminent, devoted themselves to the 
difficult work of establishing the institutions of the gospel among 
them, and leading them to obedience to the laws of Christ. A 
college building was erected at Cambridge expressly for the pur- 
pose of giving to Indian youth a liberal education, that they 
might become teachers, ministers, and magistrates among their 
countrymen ; and although this design proved abortive, the fail- 
ure was owing not to any want of zeal in those who commenced 
it, but to the inherent and insurmountable difficulty of the work 
itself. Not a foot of land, for which an owner could be found, 
was ever taken by the early settlers without ample remunera- 
tion ; and if we hear of Indian wars, they were wars in which 
the colonists were compelled to defend their lives and their law- 
ful possessions against the unprovoked attacks of savage and 
relentless foes. It was one part of their original design, as we 
have said, to '-advance the honor of God, of their king and 
country, by this settlement, without injury to the native in- 
habitants." They meant " to take nothing but what the Indians 
were willing to dispose of ; nor to interfere with them, except for 
the maintenance of peace among them, and the propagation of 

Mr. Shepard, if not the most prominent agent in this good 
work, was nevertheless a most zealous and faithful promoter of 
it. There was probably no one, except Mr. Eliot, to whom the 
Indians were more indebted for those measures which concerned 
their civil or their spiritual welfare. The first missionary station, 
where Mr. Eliot statedly preached to them, was fixed at Nonan- 
tum, in Cambridge, in the year 1646. Mr. Shepard watched 
over the infant church gathered there with parental solicitude 
and kindness. He frequently attended the weekly lecture held 
by Mr. Eliot; and although he could not preach in the Indian 
language, yet several tracts, written by him for this purpose, were 
translated by his friend, and he was thus enabled to teach them 
the rudiments of the oracles of God. And thus Cambridge has 


the honor of furnishing not only the first heathen mission, but 
the first Protestant tract, and the first Protestant translation 
of the Bible in a heathen language. 

Mr. Shepard has given an interesting account of the progress 
of the work in and about Cambridge, in a letter to a friend in 
England, which was afterward published under the title of " The 
Clear Sunshine of the Gospel breaking forth upon the Indians 
in New England," designed especially to describe the effect of 
Mr. Eliot's labors, but incidentally exhibiting his own interest 
and agency in the mission. During the winter, he was confined 
at home ; but on the 3d of March, 1647, he attended the Indian 
lecture, " where Mr. Wilson, Mr. Allen, of Dedham, Mr. Dun- 
ster, beside many other Christians, were present ; on which day, 
perceiving divers of the Indian women well affected, and con- 
sidering that their souls might stand in need of answers to their 
scruples as well as the men's, we did therefore desire them to 
propound any questions they would be resolved about, by first 
acquainting their husbands, or the interpreter privately them- 
selves ; whereupon we heard two questions thus orderly pro- 
pounded. At this time there were sundry others propounded of 
very good use ; in all which we saw the Lord Jesus leading them 
to make narrow inquiries into the things of God, that so they 
might see the reality of them. I have heard few Christians, when 
they begin to look toward God, make more searching questions 
that they might see things really, and not only have a notion of 
them. . . . From this 3d of March until the end of this 
summer, I could not be present at the Indian lectures ; but when 
I came the last time, I marveled to see so many Indian men, and 
women, and children in English apparel ; they being at Noonane- 
tum generally clad, especially upon lecture days, which they have 
got, partly by gift, from the English, and partly by their own labors, 
by which some of them have very handsomely appareled them- 
selves, and you would scarce know them from English people. 
. . . There is one thing more which I would acquaint you 
with, which happened this summer, viz. : June 9, the first day of 
the synod's meeting at Cambridge, where the forenoon was spent 


in hearing a sermon preached by one of the elders, Ezekiel 
Rogers, of Rowley, as a preparation to the work of the synod. 
The afternoon was spent in hearing an Indian lecture, where 
there was a great confluence of Indians from all parts to hear 
Mr. Eliot ; which we conceived not unseasonable at such a time, 
— partly that the reports of God's work begun among them 
might be seen and believed of the chief who w^ere then sent, and 
met from all the churches of Christ in the country, who could 
hardly believe the reports they had received concerning these 
new stirs among the Indians, — and partly hereby to raise up a 
greater spirit of prayer for the carrying on of the work begun 
upon the Indians, among all the churches and servants of the Lord. 
. . When the sermon was done, there was a convenient space 
of time spent in hearing those questions which the Indians publicly 
propounded, and in giving answers to them. . . . That which 
I note is this : that their gracious attention to the word, the affec- 
tions and mourning of some of them under it, their sober pro- 
pounding of divers spiritual questions, their aptness to under- 
stand and believe what was replied to them, the readiness of 
divers poor- naked children to answer openly the chief questions 
in the catechism which were formerly taught them, and such 
like appearances of a great change upon them, did marvel- 
ously affect all the wise and godly ministers, magistrates, and 
people, and did raise their hearts up to a great thankfulness to 
God ; very many deeply and abundantly mourning for joy, to 
see such a blessed day, and the Lord Jesus so much known and 
spoken of among such as never heard of him before." . . . 
Toward the latter part of this year, 164:7, Mr. Shepard, to- 
gether with Mr. Eliot and Mr. Wilson, were invited by the in- 
habitants of Yarmouth to meet with some of the elders of Plym- 
outh colony for the purpose of settling, if possible, a difficulty 
which had been of long standing among them, and M'hich threat- 
ened to divide and destroy the church in that place. " Where- 
in," says Mr. Shepard, " the Lord was very merciful to us and 
them, in binding them up beyond our thoughts in a very short 
time, in giving not only that bruised church, but the whole town 


also, a hopeful beginning of a settled peace and future quiet- 
ness. But Mr. Eliot, as he takes all other advantages of times, 
so he took this, of speaking with and preaching to the poor In- 
dians in those remote places about Cape Cod." " Thus you have 
a true, but somewhat rent and ragged relation of these things ; 
it may be most suitable to the story of naked and ragged men. 
. . . If any in England doubt of the truth of what was 
formerly writ, or if any malignant eye shall question or vilify 
this work, they will now speak too late ; for what was here done 
at Cambridge was not set under a bushel, but in the open sun, 
that what Thomas would not believe by the report of others, he 
might be forced to believe by seeing with his own eyes, and 
feeling Jesus Christ thus risen among them with his own 
hand." * 

On the 8th of September, 1647, Mr. Shepard married, for 
his third wife, Margaret Boradel, by whom he had one son, Jere- 
miah, born August 11, 1648, ^nd who, after his death, became 
the wife of Jonathan Mitchell, his successor in the church at 

Mr. Shepard's work upon earth was now almost finished, and 
his useful life was rapidly drawing to a close. His health had at 
no period of his life been very vigorous, and he was liable to 
frequent attacks of illness. He was, as Johnson tells us, " a 
poor, weak, pale-complexioned man, whose physical powers were 
feeble, but spent to the full ; " and he says of himself, that he 
was '" very weak, and unfit to be tossed up and down, and to 
bear persecution." It is astonishing that with such a feeble 
body he was able to endure so many " afllictions and tempta- 
tions," and to perform such an amount of intellectual and other 
labor. In August, 1649, upon his return from a meeting of 
ministers at Rowley, he took a severe cold, which terminated in 
quinsy, accompanied by fever, and in a few days " stopped a 
silver trumpet from whence the people of God had often heard 
the joyful sound of the gospel." He died August 25, 1649, in the 
forty-fourth year of his age, universally lamented by the whole 

* Clear Sunshine, etc., passim. 


colony, in whose service he had exhausted all his powers. " The 
next loss," says Johnson, " was the death of that famous preach- 
er of the Lord, Mr. Hooker, pastor of the church at Hartford, 
and Mr. Phillips, pastor of the church at Watertown, and 
the holy, heavenly, soul-afFecting, soul-ravishing minister, Mr. 
Thomas Shepard, pastor of the church at Cambridge, whose de- 
parture was very heavily taken by all the people of Christ round 
about him ; and now New England, that had such heaps upon 
heaps of the riches of Christ's tender, compassionate mercies, 
being turned from his dandling knees, began to read their ap- 
proaching rod, in the bend of his brow and frowns of his former 
favorable countenance toward them." * 

The words of the dying are generally regarded as deeply sig- 
nificant ; and the last expressions of a soul on the verge of heaven 
are treasured up and repeated by the living as revelations from 
the inner sanctuary of truth. The nature of the disease of which 
Mr. Shepard died perhaps prevented him from speaking much 
upon his death bed ; and many things which he may have said 
have not, probably, been reported to us. A few precious say 
ings, however, have been preserved, and, coming across the gulf 
of two hundred years, sound like a voice from heaven. " O, love 
the Lord Jesus Christ very much," said he to those who stood 
by his bed side watching his ebbing breath ; " that Httle part 
which I have in him is no small comfort to me now." The 
pious Baily, of Watertown, has preserved in his diary a sentence 
from those dying lips which is worthy to form the practical 
maxim of every minister. To several young ministers who visit- 
ed him just before his decease he said, "Your work is great, and 
calls for great seriousness. As to myself, I can say three things 
w-hat the study of every sermon cost me tears ; that before I 
preached a sermon, I got good by it myself; and that I always 
went up into the pulpit as if I were to give up my account to 
my Master." " that my soul," adds Baily, " may remember, 
and practice accordingly."! 

* Wonder-working Providence, p. 213. 

t Extract from Baily's Diary, in Mather's Magnalia. 


Among his dying words, and perhaps not less indicative of 
his spiritual state than those already quoted, we may place hig. 
last will. It was dictated to his friends Daniel Gookin and 
Samuel Danforth but a few moments before his spirit departed ; 
and in the calmness with which he disposed of all his worldly 
substance for the benefit of the living, while he gave up his soul 
to God in the assurance of a glorious immortality, through the 
merits of Jesus Christ, we see the true character and the all- 
pervading influence of his personal religion. It had been his aim 
through life to do all things to the glory of God ; and when he 
came to die, it seemed to him as much an act of piety to take 
thought for the welfare of those whom he was to leave behind 
as to meditate upon the crown that awaited him in heaven. 

"On the 25th day of the 6th month, (August,) 1649, Mr. 
Thomas Shepard, pastor of the church at Cambridge, being of 
perfect memory, and having his understanding clear, made his 
last will and testament in the presence of Daniel Gookin and 
Samuel Danforth. 

" Upon the day and year above written, about two o'clock in 
the morning, he, feeling his spirits failing, commanded all persons 
to avoid the room except those before named, and then desiring 
their attendance, spake distinctly unto them as followeth, or 
words to like effect : — 

" ' I desire to take this opportunity to make my will, and I 
intreat you to observe what I speak, and take witnesses to it. 

" ' 1. I believe in the everlasting God the Father, and his 
eternal Son Christ Jesus, and communion of the Holy Spirit ; 
and this God I have chosen for my only portion : and in the 
everlasting mercies of this same God, Father, Son, and Holy 
Spirit, I rest and repose my soul. 

" ' 2. All my whole temporal estate (my debts being first paid) 
I leave with my dear wife, during her estate of widowhood ; 
that she may with the same maintain herself, and educate my 
children in learning, especially my sons Thomas and Samuel. 

" * 3. In case my wife marry again, then my will is, that my 


wife shall have such a proportion of my estate as my executors 
shall judge meet. And also I give unto her the gold which is 
in a certain box in my study. 

" ' 4. The residue of my estate I give and bequeath to my four 
children, as followeth, viz. : (1.) A double portion to my eldest 
son, Thomas, together with my best silver tankard, and my best 
black suit and cloak, and all my books, manuscripts and papers ; 
which last named, viz., books, manuscripts and papers, although 
the property of my son Thomas, yet they shall be for the use 
of my wife and my other children. (2.) To my son Samuel a 
single portion, together with one of my long silver bowls. (3.) 
To my son John I bequeath a single portion, with the other long 
silver bowl. (4.) To my son Jeremiah a single portion, and my 
other silver tankard. 

" ' 5. I give and bequeath, as a legacy to ray beloved friend 
Mr. Samuel Danforth, my velvet cloak and ten pounds. 

" ' 6. I give unto the elders, to be equally divided, five pounds 
that Mr. Pelham oweth me. 

" ' 7. I give unto my cousin Stedman five pounds. 

" ' 8. I give to Ruth Mitchenson, the elder, ten pounds. 

" ' Lastly, I do hereby appoint my dear friends and brethren, 
Daniel Gookin, Edward Collins, Edward Goffe, and Samuel 
Danforth, to be executors of this my last will and testament.* 

Daniel Gookin, 
Samuel Danforth." * 

Thus died Thomas Shepard, in the peace of God that passelh 
all understanding, which kept his mind and his heart through 
Jesus Christ. There is something in this dying scene which 
reminds of one of the most beautiful and affecting incidents in 
the life of that Saviour whom Shepard so much resembled. 
" When Jesus, therefore, saw his mother, and the disciple stand- 

* The inventory of Mr. Shepard's estate, consisting of lands, furniture, 
and library, amounted to eight hundred and ten pounds nine shillings one 
penny. His books, — about two hundred and sixty in number, — together 
with several MSS., were valued at one hundred pounds. 


mg by whom he loved, he saith to his mother, Woman, behold 
thy son ! Then saith he to the disciple. Behold thy mother ! 
And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own house." 
Mr. Shepard was buried at Cambridge amidst the regrets and 
the tears of a congregation and a college that owed, under God, 
their existence and their prosperity to his devoted labors and sac- 
rifices. But " no man [now] knoweth of his sepulcher." Such 
have been the changes which time and accident have produced, 
that no stone remains to mark the place of his rest, nor is it pos- 
sible to identify the grave that holds his precious dust. His 
friend, Mr. Buckley, as an expression of his love and grief, 
wrote a Latin elegy upon the occasion of his death, of which 
Mather has preserved two lines, as a comprehensive epitaph, 
descriptive at once of his faithfulness and of his success in his 


*' Nominis, officiiq ; fuit concordia dulcis ; 
Officio pastor, nomine Pastor erat." 

His name and office sweetly did agree, 
Shepard by name, and in his ministry. 

That Mr. Shepard must have been a powerful and an efficient 
preacher might be inferred from what we know of his spiritual 
preparation for the ministry ; of the purity and elevation of 
his personal religion ; of his close and humble walk with God ; 
of his devotion to the interests of his flock, — if we had not the 
testimony of contemporaries who were eye witnesses and heart wit- 
nesses of the effects which his preaching produced. When we 
are told that he always finished his preparation for the pulpit by 
two o'clock on Saturday afternoon, believing " that God would 
curse that man's labors who goes lumbering up and down in the 
world all the week, and then upon Saturday afternoon goes to his 
study, whenas God knows that time were little enough to pray in, 
and weep in, and get his heart into a frame fit for the approach- 
ing Sabbath," — when we know that he wept in the composition 
of his sermons, — that he went into the pulpit as if he expected 
there to give up his account of his stewardship, — that he al- 
ways derived some spiritual benefit from his discourses before he 
delivered them to his people, — and that the conversion of his 


hearers was the great end of his preaching, — v/e are sure that 
his sermons must have been effective, and, like the word of God, 
of which they were but the echo, quick and jDowerful, sharper 
than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder 
of the joints and marrow, and laying bare the thoughts and 
intents of the heart. That intense zeal in the service of God, — 
that unreserved self-consecration to the work of turning man 
from darkness to light, — that holy patience in tribulation, — 
that baptism of sermons in tears, — those " heavenly prayers," — 
could not but render him 

" A son of thunder and a shower of rain." 

And this inference is justified and confirmed by those who saw 
and felt the power of his preaching. " This year," 1 649, says 
Morton, " that faithful and eminent servant of Christ, Mr. 
Thomas Shepard, died. He was a soul-searching minister of the 
gospel. By his death, not only the church and people of Cam- 
bridge, but also all New England, sustained a very great loss. 
He not only preached the gospel profitably and very successfully, 
but also hath left behind him divers worthy works of special use 
in reference to the clearing up of the state of the soul to God 
and man ; the benefit whereof those can best experience who 
are most conversant in the improvement of them, and have God's 
blessing on them therein to their soul's good." * There is a 
tradition, received by Mr. Prince from the old men of his day, 
and by him handed down to us, that he " scarce ever preached a 
sermon but some one or other of his congregation were struck 
with great distress, and cried out in agony, ' What shall I do to 
be saved ; ' and that though his voice was low, yet so searching 
was his preaching, and so great a power attending, as a hypo- 
crite could not easily bear it, and it seemed almost irresistible." f 
Johnson can not find epithets enough to express his personal 
excellence, nor language to set forth the wonderful effects of 
his public ministrations : " that gracious, sweet, heavenly-mind- 

* Morton's New England Memorial, p. 169. 

t Prince's Sermons, published by Erskine, p. 60. 


ed, and soul-ravishing minister," being the common, and appar- 
ently inadequate terms in which he speaks of the pastor of Cam- 
bridge ; " in whose soul," says the enthusiastic eulogist, " the 
Lord shed abroad his love so abundantly, that thousands of souls 
have cause to bless God for him, even at this very day, who are 
the seal of his ministry ; and he a man of a thousand, endued 
with abundance of true, saving knowledge for himself and others." 
But perhaps the most discriminating and competent witness 
to Mr. Shepard's power in the pulpit is Jonathan Mitchel, who, 
if not converted, was certainly greatly enlightened, and aided in 
his inquiries after truth, by his ministry. Mr. Mitchel, as 
Mather tells us, kept a journal of his inward life, a few extracts 
from which are preserved in the Magnalia. On one occasion he 
made this entry : ^' I had hardly any savor on my spirit before 
God ; but a terrible and most excellent sermon of Mr. Shepard 
awakened me. He taught me that there are some who seem to 
be found and saved by Christ, and yet afterward they perish. 
These remarks terrified me. I begged of God that he would 
have mercy on me, and accomplish the whole work of his grace 
for me." * On another occasion he thus writes : " Mr. Shepard 
preached most profitably. That night I was followed with seri- 
ous thoughts of my inexpressible misery, wherein I go on, from 
Sabbath to Sabbath, without God and without redemption." f 
Mr. Mitchel succeeded Mr. Shepard, and his first sermons were 
full of lamentations over the loss which he and the people had 
suifered in the extinction of " that light of New England." On 
one occasion, when referring to the few years which he had lived 
under Mr. Shepard's ministry, he said, " Unless it had been four 
years living in heaven, I know not how I could have more cause 
to bless God with wonder than for those four years." | After 
all, perhaps the general impression which he produced upon the 
people to whom he preached, the character of the piety which 
grew up under his ministrations, and the spiritual state of the 
church, furnish the best proofs of his power. Mr. Mitchel was, 

* Magnalia, B. iv. pp. 168, 169. t lb. t lb- B. iv. p. 172. 

VOL. I, J) 


at first, very reluctant, even when urged by Mr. Shepard upon 
his death bed, to occupy the pulpit of his illustrious teacher ; and 
the only consideration which finally induced him to accept the 
pastoral charge of that congregation was, as he himself declared, 
" that they were a gracious, savory-spirited people, principled 
by Mr. Shepard, liking a humbling, mourning, heart-breaking 
ministry and spirit ; living in religion, praying men and women." 
A preacher who could make such a man as Mitchel feel that he 
was living for four years in heaven, and leave such an impression 
upon a whole people, must have been, to use the langniage of the 
venerable Higginson, a " Chrysostom in the pulpit," and a 
" Timothy in his family," and in the church. 

As a writer, Mr. Shepard deservedly holds a high rank among 
the most able divines which Puritanism — fruitful in great men 
— has ever produced. His works are controversial, doctrinal, 
and practicah He was " an Augustine in disputation," as well 
as a Chrysostom in the pulpit ; and, like a scribe well instructed, 
he produced several works which are of permanent value for 
doctrine and instruction in righteousness. His " Theses Sab- 
batic^," or " Doctrine of the Sabbath," is a masterly discussion 
of the morality, the change, the heginning, and the sanctijication 
of the Sabbath. It is the substance of several sermons upon the 
fourth commandment, and was thrown into the scholastic form of 
theses, or shoyt propositions, at the earnest request, and for the 
particular use, of the students in the college. Afterward, at the 
desire of all the elders in New England, the work was somewhat 
enlarged, and published in its present form in 1649. It is now 
very rare, not more than two or three copies being known to be 
extant. With respect to the precise time at which the Christian 
Sabbath begins, he diifered slightly from some of the elders ; and 
Mr. Allen, together with several others, wrote friendly argu- 
mentative letters to him upon that point ; but the question 
seems to be of too little interest or importance to call for any 
remark in this place. Of the " Answer to Ball" we have 
already spoken. The Preface to that book contains an admira- 
ble exposition of the grounds upon which our fathers proceeded 
in their great enterprise in New England, and if republished by 


itself, as it was a great many years ago, would be an invaluable 
tract for the times. 

About three months before his death, he wrote a letter to a 
friend upon the subject of infant baptism, in which he felt a 
deep interest. It was published in 1G63, at the earnest request 
of many who had heard of its effect upon the person to whom it 
was addressed, under the title of " The Church Membership op 
Children, and their IIioht to Baptism, according to that holy 
and everlasting covenant of God established between himself and 
the faithful, and their seed after them, in their generations." 
Of all the works upon infant baptism — and they are many — 
which have been written in New England, this letter of Shep- 
ard's may be regarded as one of the most able and satisfactory. 

Mr. Shepard's style is often rugged, but full of passages of 
sweet and quiet beauty, which makes the reader think of pure 
water gushing from some craggy rock, or of flowers springing up 
on the side of a rough pathway. He utters great thoughts with- 
out any apparent preparation or effort, as if they were ever 
present and most familiar to his mind, and amidst his most ele- 
vated or abstruse reasoning, continually surprises and delights 
the reader with utterances which seem to come from the heart 
of a little child. In his polemics there is no bitterness. He 
never takes an unfair advantage of an opponent, nor uses abu- 
sive language in the place of argument. He is always serious, 
candid, frank, and charitable. He held and taught the distin- 
guishing doctrines of grace, which Calvin before him had dis- 
cussed ; but he never presents them as dry dogmas, nor uses any 
language respecting them which is calculated to wound, unne- 
cessarily, a serious mind. He always appears lovely in the most 
terrible passages ; and makes one feel the influence of his gentle 
spirit, while he sends the truth with overwhelming power to the 
conscience. He was a Puritan and a Congregationalist ; but in 
maintaining and defending his position against those whose words 
were " drawn swords," his spirit is always unruffled, and his 
remonstrances, though uttered with earnestness, convey no 
venom into the wound which they produce. 

There is a class of persons, who, while they do ample 


justice to Mr. Shepard's talents, learning, and piety, yef 
complain much of what they term the severe, legal, discour- 
aging aspect of some of his ^practical icritings — particularly 
those in which he exhibits the conditions of salvation^ and 
endeavors to lead a sinner to Christ. The remarks of a 
recent English author upon this alleged characteristic of 
Shepard's works exhibit all the objections that have ever been 
made against them. " The Treatises of S. and D. Rogers, TH. 
Hooker, and the New England Shepard," says he, " can not be 
read without grave exceptions. For in these valuable writers, 

— and others might be named, — amidst much that is superex- 
cellent, there are statements as to the constitution of a Christian 
which look austere ; which, by checking the freeness of salvation, 
become, though contrary to intention, stumbling blocks, and the 
occasion of mental trouble. Instead of at once directing sinners, 
as the apostles did, to the finished atonement, — to the propitia- 
tory work of Christ, — of urging them to take God at his word, 

— to receive the testimony given of his Son, and so to possess 
joy and peace in believing, these good men seem to have been 
infected with the ancient errors, which confined evangelical teach- 
ing to the initiated. They evidently thought a routine of tedious 
preparation needful before coming to the Saviour. Qualifications,, 
therefore, unknown to the word of God, were prescribed, and 
rules laid down, which not merely concealed great and precious 
promises, but savored of a legal spirit, and kept out of view that 
death unto the law which is the life of evangelical obedience." * 

In this general charge of austere and legal teaching, which, as 
this writer says, obscures the promises and grace of the gospel, 
we do not distinctly perceive the points wherein Mr. Shepard is 
supposed to be erroneous. But in Giles Firmin's " Real Chris- 
tian," a book which was written expressly for the purpose of 
correcting the errors of the " Sincere Convert," — one of Mr. 
Shepard's most practical works, — the dangerous doctrines are 
set forth, and controverted at length. In this book Mr. Shepard 
teaches that the preparatory work which evjery sinner must ex- 

* Letters on the Puritans, by J. B. Williams, p. 170. 


perience before he can receive the grace of God in Christ, in- 
cludes conviction of sin, compunction, and humiliation ; that the 
sinner must be satisfied with the will of God, though his suit 
should be unsuccessful ; that the soul must be so humbled as to 
be willing that Christ should dispose of it according to his pleas- 
ure ; that the sinner must seek the glory of God's grace above 
his own salvation ; and that in this work of conviction, com- 
punction, and humiliation, we must be so thoroughly divested of 
all self-confidence and disposition to dictate to God, that he shall 
appear supremely excellent, though we may never partake of 
his love. 

Firmin thought that a person under such a preparatory work 
was as good a Christian as he could be if he were actually united 
to Christ. In a letter to Mr. Shepard, he expressed his surprise 
at the doctrine that an act of grace or of obedience should be 
required of a person under a preparatory M'ork, than which, he 
conceived, none greater could be performed by a real Christian ; 
and he declared that he knew no act of self-denial in the gospel 
like this quiet submission to the justice and sovereignty of God, 
irrespective of any assurance of pardon and acceptance; and 
this, too, under the preparatory work of humiliation ! 

This doctrine, Mr. Firmin thought, must be a great stumbling 
block in the way of sinners, and occasion great perplexity in all 
readers who believed it to be true. And he seems to have 
known one serious person, besides himself, who was much trou- 
bled by this "constitution of a Christian." "Preaching once 
abroad," he says, " I closed up the point in hand, by applying it 
to what Mr. Shepard had delivered, to see how these doctrines 
agreed. A gentleman and a scholar, meeting me some time after, 
gave me thanks for the close of my sermon. I asked him why. 
He told me that he had a maid servant who was very godly, 
and reading of that particular in Mr. Shepard's book which I 
opposed, she was so cast down, and fell into such trouble, 
that all the Christians who came to her could not quiet her 
spirit." * That is, this poor, godly servant maid could npt bs 

* Eeal Christian, Preface, pp. 4, 5. 
p * 


freed from trouble of mind, occasioned by the doctrine that she 
must be truly convinced of sin, be deeply humbled, and submit 
implicitly to the will of God, until she was convinced, by Mr. 
Firmin, that Shepard, though an eminently learned and holy 
paan, was mistaken in relation to that matter! 

Before attempting to suggest an answer to these objections, it 
may be well to remark that the book called the " Sincere Con- 
vert " was, perhaps, of all Mr. Shepard's works, the least satisfac- 
tory to himself; not because its fundamental doctrines were 
doubtful to his own mind, but because it had not received that 
revision from his own hand which every work requires, and was, 
moreover, barbarously printed. " It was," says Mr. Shepard, 
in a letter to Mr. Firmin, " a collection of notes in a dark town 
in England, which one procuring of me, published without my 
will or privity. I scarce know what it contains ; nor do I like 
to see it, considering the many typographical errors, most absurd, 
and the confession of him that published it, that it comes out 
mutilated and altered from what was first written." * And 
this was said in October, 1647, a year after the English pub- 
lisher, in his fourth edition, declared that the book had been 
*' corrected and much amended by the author " ! 

Mr. Shepard, however, while he thus almost disowned the 
" Sincere Convert," did not disavow, but vindicated the doctrine 
here called in question. Though it was a " ragged child," .as he 
sometimes called it, it spoke upon this point, at least, the senti- 
ments of its author. In a letter to Mr. Firmin, he says, " I do 
not think this (that is, unconditional submission to the will of 
God) is the highest measure of grace, as you hint, any further 
than as any peculiar work of the Spirit is high ; for upon a nar- 
row inquiry, it is far different from that readiness of Paul and 
Moses, out of a principle of love to Christ, to wish themselves 
anathematized for Israel's sake ; which is a high pitch indeed." 
And he closes his letter thus : " Let my love end. in breathing 
out this desire : Preach humiliation. Labor to possess men with 
a sense of wrath to come, and misery. The gospel consolations 

* Real Christiaa, p. 215. 


and grace, which some would have dished out as the dainties of 
the times, and set upon the ministry's table, may possibly tickle 
and ravish some, and do some good to them that are humbled 
and converted already. But if axes and wedges, withal, be not 
used to hew and break this rough, uneven, bold, yet professing 
age, I am confident the work and fruit of those men's minis- 
try will be at best mere hypocrisy ; and they shall find it, and 
see it, if they live to see a few years more." * 

]\Ir. Shepard here touches the root of the matter. A minis- 
try, to be truly fruitful, must show to the people their transgres- 
sions ; and that doctrine that does not humble the sinner and re- 
quire unconditional submission, while it offers redeeming grace, 
though it were preached by an angel from heaven, is anathema- 
tized by the gospel. " Some souls can relish none but mealy- 
.mouthed preachers, who come with soft, and smooth, and tooth- 
less words, (byssina verba, byssinis viris.) But these times need 
humbling ministries ; and blessed be God that there are any. 
For where there are no law sermons, there will be few gospel lives ; 
and were there more law preaching by the men of gifts, there 
would be more gospel walking both by themselves and the people. 
To preach the law, not in a forced, affected manner, but wisely 
and powerfully, together with the gospel, as Christ himself was 
wont to do, is the way to carry on all three together, viz., sense of 
misery, — the application of the remedy, — and the returns of 
thankfulness and duty. Nor is any doctrine more comforting 
than this humbling way of God, if rightly managed." f 

Mr. Shepard had an able defender of his doctrines, as well 
as a worthy successor to his ministry, in Jonathan Mitchel, who 
drank into the spirit of that theology which exalts God while it 
abases man, and carried out in his preaching the views of his 
master. " I have," he says, " no greater request for myself and 
for you, than that God would make us see things as they really 
are, and pound our hearts all to pieces, and make sin most bitter, 
and Christ most sweet, that we might be both humbled and com- 

* Eeal Christian, pp. 19, 56. 

t Preface to Shepard's Sermons on Ineffectual Hearing of the Word, by 
G. Greenhill and S. Mather. 


forted to purpose. An imperfect work of the law, and then 
an imperfect work of the gospel, is the bane and ruin of 
these days. Some fears and affections, and then some hopes of 
mercy, without finding full rest and satisfaction in Christ alone, 
men rest in, and perish." * 

Whatever may be said of. the legal tone of Mr. Shepard's 
writings, by those who think that " the God of terror, the Thun- 
derer from Sinai, must fold up his lightnings prettily, and muffle 
his thunder in an easily-flowing, poetical measure," they doubt- 
less exhibit in a masterly manner those distinguishing doctrines 
of grace which have ever been, as they will ever be, the true and 
only foundation of the sinner's peace. 

It may be interesting to the reader to learn in what light these 
writings were regarded when they were more known than they 
are now, by men most competent, by profound acquaintance with 
the Scriptures, to judge correctly of their merits. And first, 
hear how William Greenhill speaks of that " ragged child," in 
the edition of 1692. "The author is one of singular piety, in- 
ward acquaintance with God, skilled in the deceits of men's 
hearts, able to enlighten the dark corners of the little world, and 
to give satisfaction to staggering spirits. The work is weighty, 
quick, and spiritual ; and if thine eye be single in perusing it, 
thou shalt find many precious, soul-searching, soul-quickening, 
soul-enriching truths in it ; yea, and be so warned and awakened, 
as that thou canst not but bless God for the man and the matter, 
unless thou b^ possessed with a dumb devil." f White, in his 
" Power of Godhness," mentions, among the best means and 
helps for acquiring a holy character, together with other books, 
Shepard's " Sincere Convert," and " Sound Believer." Steele, 
in his " Husbandman's Calling," advises the Christian farmer to 
purchase some choice books, and read them well, and recom- 
mends Shepard's " Sound Believer," as one of peculiar value. % 
Hugh Peters exhorts his daughter to read, among other books 
mentioned in his letter, Shepard's " Sincere Convert," for the 

* Letter to an Anxious Inquirer, 1649. 

t Preface to Sincere Convert, p. 9. 

X Letters on the Puritans, by ,J. B. Williams. 


purpose of having her "understanding enlightened with the 
want of Christ and his worth." * Rev. James Frazier, of Scot- 
land, in 1738, thus speaks of Shepard's writings: "The Lord 
hath blessed the reading of practical v. ritings to me, and thereby 
my heart hath been put into frame, and much strength and light 
gotten ; such as Isaac Ambrose, Goodwin, Mr. Gray, and very 
much by Rutherford's, above others ; but most of all, by Mr. 
Thomas Shepard, of New England, his works. He hath, by 
the same Lord, been made the ' Interpreter, one of a thousand ; ' 
so that, under Christ, I have been obliged to his writings as 
much, and more, than to any man's whatever, for awakening, 
strengthening, and enlightening my soul. The Lord made him a 
well of water to me in all my wilderness straits." t Our own 
Edwards, a man whose religious experience was as genuine and 
as deep as that of any divine whom New England or the world has 
produced, was more indebted to Shepard's Sermons on the Par- 
able of the Ten Virgins, in the preparation of his " Treatise 
concerning the Religious Affections," than to any other human 
production whatever, as is shown by the fact that out of one 
hundred and thirty-two quotations from all authors, upward of 
seventy-five are from Mr. Shepard. To finish this catalogue of 
eminent men who have borne testimony to the truth and power of 
Mr. Shepard's practical writings, we repeat what old Mr. Ward, 
of Ipswich, once said to Giles Firmin, his son-in-law, respecting 
one of the prominent characteristics of his preaching and writ- 
ing. " When Mr. Shepard comes to deal with hypocrites, he 
cuts so desperately, that men know not how to bear him ; he 
makes them all afraid that they are all hypocrites. But when 
he comes to deal with a tender, humble soul, he gives comfort so 
largely, that we are afraid to take it." And Mr. Firmin himself 
says, that the book which he so severely reviews is, for the most 
part, " very solid, quick, and searching, cutting very sharply," 
and by no means a book for " an unsound heart to delight in." J 
Of the character of Mr. Shepard's personal religion, after 

* Hanbury's Memorials, 111, 573. 

t Preface to Select Cases, etc., by T. Prince, 1774. 

t Real Christian, p. 216. 


what has been said in the foregoing account of his life, it is un- 
necessary to speak at length. The best moral portrait of him 
that we have is drawn, unconsciously, by himself in his diary, to 
which more than one reference has been made. It is a journal, 
as David Brainerd justly remarks, in which true religion is de- 
lineated in a very exact and beautiful manner ; and in reading 
this expression of his most secret feelings, — never, certainly, 
designed to be made public, — we may see what he regarded as 
the religion of a minister of Christ, the state he endeavored to 
attain, and the difficulties he encountered in his way to heaven. 
The humiliation, the submission to the will of God, the deep 
sense of unworthiness, the desire to advance the glory of God 
above all selfish considerations, which he preaches to others 
in his works, he here shows that he himself experienced. The 
joys which from time to time sprang up in his soul, in view of 
redeeming mercy, were evidently not the self-created comforts 
of a deceived heart that had never been truly broken for sin, but 
the peace of God which came to fill a heart purified as a temple 
for the Most High. It is a journal which every minister might 
study with profit ; and any one who should find his mind respond- 
ing to these profound utterances of a heavenly mind, might, with- 
out much danger of disappointment, hope to be made an instrument 
of promoting the glory of God in the conversion of sinners. 

Upon the whole, when we consider the rich Christian expe- 
rience which Mr. Shepard attained ; the sacrifices which he 
cheerfully made for the sake of Christ and the gospel ; the great 
amount of ministerial and other labor which he performed, with 
feeble health and manifold hinderances ; the attainments which 
he made in sanctity, and the knowledge of divine things ; the 
able theological works he produced ; and the influence, felt even 
now, which he exerted in building up the churches of New Eng- 
land, — and all this ere he had passed the meridian of life, — we 
must regard him as one of the brightest ornaments of the church, 
and hold his memory in profound and grateful remembrance. 

" A sacred man, a venerable priest, 
Who never spake and admiration missed. 


Of good and kind he the just standard seemed ; 

Dear to the best, and by the worst esteemed. 

His wit, his judgment, learning, equal rise ; 

Divinely humble, yet divinely wise; 

He triumphed o'er our souls, and, at his will, 

Bid this touched passion rise, and that be still ; 

Released our souls, and made them soar above, 

AVinged with divine desires and flames of heavenly love." 

The fuUoiving is a very brief account of Mr. Shepard's Family 
and Writings : — 

Mr. Shepard left three sons : — 

Thomas, born April 5, 1635, at London ; graduated at Har- 
vard College, 1653; ordained pastor of the church in Charles- 
town, April 13, 1659; died of small-pox, December 22, 1677, 
aged 43. 

Samuel, born at Cambridge, October 18, 1641 ; graduated at 
Harvard College, 1658; ordained over the church at Rowley, 
as its third pastor, 1665 ; died April 7, 1668, in the twenty- 
seventh year of his age. 

Jeremiah, born August 11, 1648; graduated at Harvard 
College, 1669 ; ordained at Lynn, October 6, 1679 ; died June 2, 
1720, aged 72, after a ministry of forty-one years. 

Mr. Shepard's third wife, Margaret Boradel, after his death, 
married Jonathan Mitchel, his successor in the church of Cam- 

Anna, the daughter of Thomas Shepard of Charlestown, was 
married, in 1682, to Daniel Quincy. They had one son, named 
John Quincy, born July 21, 1689. Elizabeth, the daughter of 
John Quincy, married William Smith, the minister of Weymouth. 
Abigail, the daughter of William Smith, married John Adams, 
afterward president of the United States, and was the mother 
of John Quincy Adams, who was thus a descendant, in the sixth 
generation, from Thomas Shepard of Cambridge.* 

* Chronicles of Massachusetts, p. 558, note. 


Of Mr. Shepard's books, the children of his mind, the follow- 
ing is believed to be a tolerably correct list, with the dates, so 
far as known, of their respective editions : — 

1. Sermons on the Parable of the Ten Virgins. Folio, 
London, 1695. 

2. Answer to Ball. Quarto, London, 1648. 

3. Theses SABBATiCiE. Quarto, London, 1649. 

4. Sincere Convert. London. Several editions, — the 
last, London, 1692. 

5. Sound Believer. 

6. Church Membership of Children. Cambridge, 1663. 

7. New England's Lamentation for Old England's Errors. 
London, 1645. 

8. Clear Sunshine of the Gospel breaking upon the 
Indians. London, 1648. 

9. Select Cases Resolved. London and Edinburgh, 1648. 

10. The Liturgical Considerator, in reply to Dr. Gauden. 
London, 1661. 

11. Caution against Spiritual Drunkenness ; Sermon. 

12. Subjection to Christ in all his Ordinances, etc.; 
the best way to preserve liberty. 

13. Ineffectual Hearing of the Word. 

14. Singing OF Psalms a Gospel Ordinance, 1647. 

15. Meditations and Spiritual Experiences. A Diary 
from November, 1640, to December, 1641. 

16. First Principles of the Oracles of God. London 
and Edinburgh, 1648. 

17. The Saint's Jewel. 16mo., London, 1692. 
The Bible used by Mr. Shepard is in the possession of the 

Rev. William Jenks, D. D. It has the Hebrew of the Old Tes- 
tament, without points, and the Greek of the New. It exhibits 
marks of use. On the title page, at the bottom, after the name 
of a previous possessor, is Shepard's name, an autograph, thus : 
Thomas Shepard. iv i stoic I'adi. Immanuel. For this account 
of Shepard's Bible I am indebted to the kindness of Rev. Dr. 

T 11 E 

















Strait is the gate, and narrow is the way, which leadeth unto life ; 
and few there be that find it." Matt. vii. 14. 


ISo 3. 



In these evil and perilous times, God hath not left us without 
some choice mercies. Our sins abound, and his mercies super- 
abound. The Lord might justly have spoken those words of 
death against us which of old he did against the Jews — I have 
taken away my peace from this people, loving kindness and 
mercies ; which had he pulled from us, we had cause enough to 
mourn with Rachel, and to refuse comfort ; for all our happiness 
lies wrapped up in peace, loving kindness, and mercy. But God is 
yet good unto Israel, (Ps. Ixxiii. 1 ;) he commands deliverances 
for Jacob, (Ps. xliv. 4 ;) he overrules all the powers of darkness, 
(Ps. Ixxvi. 10,) and tells the sons of Belial (men of corrupt 
minds and cursed practice) that they shall proceed no further, 
but that their folly shall be manifest unto all. (2 Tim. iii. 8, 9.) 
He makes all enemies, all devils, all creatures to further his own 
glory, and the good of his peculiar people. When times are 
naught and dangerous, he saith. Come, my people, enter into 
thy chambers, and shut thy doors about thee ; hide thyself, as it 
were, for a httle moment, till the indignation be overpast. (Isa. 
xxvi. 10.) If troubles threaten life, he saith, " When thou passest 
through the waters, I will be with thee, and through the rivers, 
they shall not overflow thee ; when thou walkest through the 
fire, thou shalt not be burnt, neither shall the flames kindle 
upon thee; for I am the Lord thy God." (Isa. xliii. 3.) When 
enemies are incensed, fears and sorrows multiplied, he saith, 
" Fear thou not, for I am with thee ; be not dismayed, for I am 


thy God ; I will strengthen thee, I will help thee ; yea, I will up- 
hold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. Behold, all 
they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and con- 
founded, they shall be as nothing ; and they that strive with thee 
shall perish." (Isa. xl. 10, 11.) Such words of comfort and life 
doth God speak unto his. And among other mercies, he stirs 
up the spirits of his servants to write many precious truths and 
tracts, to further the everlasting good of his beloved ones. If 
the bottomless pit be open, and smoke rise thence, to darken the 
air and obscure the way of the saints, (Rev. v. 2,) heaven also is 
opened, (Rev. xi. 19,) and there are lightnings and voices, to en- 
lighten their spirits and direct their paths. Had ever any age 
such lightnings as we have ? Did ever any speak, since Christ 
and his apostles, as men now speak ? We may truly and safely 
say of our divines and writers, The voice of God, and not of 
man : such abundance of the Spirit hath God poured into some 
men, that it is not they, but the Spirit of the Father that speaks 
in them. 

What infinite cause hath this age to acknowledge the unspeak- 
able mercy of God in affording us such plenty of spiritual trac- 
tates, full of divine, necessary, and conscience-searching truths, 
yea, precious, soul-comforting, and soul-improving truths ! such 
whereby head, heart, and soul-cheating errors are discovered and 
prevented ; such as soundly difference true grace from all seem- 
ings and paintings. No time, no nation, exceeds us herein. And 
shall we, that abound in truths, be penurious in praises ? Con- 
sider, reader, whether spiritual truths be not worthy of thy 
choicest praises. Every divine truth is one of God's eternal 
thoughts ; it is heaven born, and bears the image of God. 
Truth is the glory of the sacred Trinity. Hence the Spirit is called 
Truth, (John xvi. 13,) Christ is called Truth, (John xiv. 6,) and 
God himself is said to be the God of truth. (Deut. xxxii. 4.) It 
is so delightful to him, that his eyes are always upon the truth. 
(Jer. V. 3.) And when the only-wise God would have men make 
a purchase, he counsels them to buy the truth. And is it not good 
counsel ? Is it not a good purchase ? Can you bestow your 


pains or lay out your money better ? If you be dead in sins and 
trespasses, truth is the seed of a new life, of a heavenly birth. 
(James i. 18.) If you be in any bondage, truth can make you 
free. (John viii. 32.) If compassed about with enemies, truth 
can shield thee. (Ps. xci. 4.) If you be full of filthy thoughts 
and lusts, or any impurities, the truth can sanctify you. (John 
xvii. 17.) If darkness and faintness possess your souls, truth is 
lumen et pahulum animce — " the light and life of the soul." 
(Ps. cxix. 105.) 

Let us, then, advance our thoughts of truth, and rate it above 
all sublunary things, and buy it, though it cost us all. It is no 
simony, it is not too dear ; you cannot overvalue truth. It is 
sister to the peace of God, which passeth all understanding. See 
how God himself estimates his w^ord and truth. (Ps. cxxxviii. 2,) 
" Thou hast magnified thy word above all thy name." Whatso- 
ever God is known by, beside his word, is beneath his word. 
Take the whole creation, which is God's name in the greatest 
letters, it is nothing to his word and truth. Therefore Christ 
tells the Pharisees, it is easier for heaven and earth to pass than 
one tittle of the law to fail. If the least jot or little of the law 
be prized by God above all the world, let us take heed of under- 
valuing the great and glorious truths of the gospel, and settle it 
as a law upon our hef^rts that we can never overprize or yield 
sufficient praise for any truth. Men can praise God for the bless- 
ings of the field, the seas, the womb, and of their shops ; but 
where is the man that praises God for his blessing of blessings 
— for TRUTH — for good books, for heavenly treatises ? Men 
seldom purposely lift up their hearts and voices to heaven^ to 
praise God for the riches of knowledge bestowed upon them. 
In good books you have men's labor and God's truth. The 
tribute of thanks is due for both, that God enables men to so 
great labors, and that he conveys such precious treasures through 
earthen vessels. David thought it his duty to praise God for 
truth, (Ps. cxxxviii. 2,) and hath left it on record for our imita- 
tion. He saw such excellency, and found so much sweet gain in 
truth, that he must break out in praises for it. 


Reader, give over thy old way of slighting and censuring 
men's labors. Experience hath long since told thee, that no good 
comes that way. Now learn to turn thy prejudices into praises, 
and prove what w^ill be the fruit of honoring and praising God 
for truths dispensed by his faithful servants. Let me tell thee, 
this is a chief way to keep truth still among us. If truths be 
not received with the love of them, and God honored for them, 
presently strong delusions come, and truth must suffer or fly. 
God hath made good that promise in Jeremy. He hath revealed 
unto us abundance of peace and truth ; and we, through ingrati- 
tude, have forfeited both. Our peace is shaken ; and who can 
promise himself, with Hezekiah, There shall be peace and truth 
in my days ? Peace may fail thee, but let not truth. Every 
good Christian may and should say, with the good king, There 
shall be truth in my days, if not peace and truth. I will so far 
honor truth, as to receive the love of it. I will hold it fast by faith, 
hold it forth by practice, praise God daily for it, and venture all 
in defence of it. So did the martyrs, whose memory is sweet, 
and whose regard is great. It is better suffering for truth than 
with truth : yet if truth must suffer, or can die, better it is to 
die with truth than outlive it. But that truth may live, and we 
live by truth, let us magnify God much for truth, for his word 
and good books that spring thence. Some probably may say. 
It's enough to praise God for his word. Other books are not tanti. 
Wilt thou praise God for the sea, and be unthankful for the 
rivers and springs ? Wilt thou lift up thy voice for the great 
waters, and be silent for the silver drops and flowers ? If the 
former rain affect thee, be not ungrateful for the latter. God 
would have man to value his servants, and praise him for their 
labors. But they have errors in them. Be it so. Shall we 
refuse to praise God for the flowers and the corn, because there 
be some weeds in the garden, and thistles in the field ? Prejudice 
not thyself: buy, read, take thy delight. Here is a garden 
without weeds, a cornfield without cockle or darnel, thorn or 
thistle. Art thou a sincere convert ? Here are truths suitable, 
solid, and wholesome. Tiiou mayest feed and feast without fear. 


The author is one of singular piety, inward acquaintance with 
God, skilled in the deceits of men's hearts, able to enlighten the 
dark corners of the little world, and to give satisfaction to stag- 
gering spirits. His w'ork needs not the purple of another's com- 
mendation to adorn it. But because custom, not necessity, (for it is 
truth's prerogative to travel without a passport,) — I say, because 
custom causeth truth to crave and carry epistles commendatory, 
know that the work is weighty, quick, and spiritual. And if 
thine eye be single in perusing it, thou shalt find many precious, 
soul-searching, soul-quickening, and soul-enriching truths in it ; 
yea, be so warned and awakened, as that thou canst not but bless 
God for the man and matter, unless thou be possessed with a 
dumb devil. 

To conclude : Christian reader, take heed of unthankfulness. 
Spiritual mercies should have the quickest and fullest praises. 
Such is this work; thou foresawest it not, thou contributest 
nothing to the birth of it. It is preventing mercy. By it, and 
other of the same nature, God hath made knowledge to abound ; 
the w^aters of the sanctuary are daily increased, and grown deep. 
Let not the waters of the sanctuary put out the fire of the sanc- 
tuary. If there be no praise, there is no fire. If thy head be 
like a winter sun, full of light, and heart like a winter's earth, 
without fruit, fear lest thy light end in utter darkness, and the 
tree of knowledge deprive thee of the tree of life. The Lord 
grant thou mayest find such benefit by this work as that thy 
heart may be ravished wdth truth, and raised to praise God to 
purpose, and made to pray, Lord, still send forth thy light and 
truth, that they may lead us. So prays 

Thine in Christ, 

W. Greenhill. 


The knowledge of divinity is necessary for all sorts of men — 
both to settle and establish the good, and to convert and fetch in 
the bad. God's principles pull down Satan's false principles set 
up in man's head, loved and believed with men's hearts, and 
defended by their tongues. Whilst strongholds remain unshaken, 
the Lord Jesus is kept off from conquering of the soul. 

Now, spiritual truths are either such as tend to enlarge the 
understanding, or such as may work chiefly upon the affections. 
I pass by (in this knowing age) the first of these, and, being 
among a people whose hearts are hard enough, I begin with the 
latter sort ; for the understanding, although it may literally, yet 
it never savingly, entertains any truth, until the affections be 
herewith smitten and wrought upon. 

I shall, therefore, here prosecute the unfolding of these divine 
principles : — 

First, that there is one most glorious God. 

Secondly, that this God made all mankind at first in Adam in 
a most glorious estate. 

Thirdly, that all mankind is now fallen from that estate into a 
bottomless gulf of sin and misery. 

Fourthly, that the Lord Jesus Christ is the only means of 
redemption of this estate. 

Fifthly, that those that are saved out of this woful estate by 
Christ are very few, and that these few are saved with much 

Sixthly, that the greatest cause why so many die and perish 
in this estate is from themselves : either, — 

1. By reason of their bloody ignorance, they know not their 
misery ; or, — 

2. By reason of their carnal security, they feel not, they groan 
not under their sin and misery. 

3. By reason of their carnal confidence, they seek to help 
themselves out of their misery by their own duties, when they 
see or feel it ; or, — 

4. By reason of their false faith, whereby they catch hold 
upon, and trust unto, the merits of Christ too soon, when they 
see and feel they cannot help themselves. 






Exod. xxxiii. 18, "I beseech thee, show me thy glory." 

This is the first divine truth, and there are these two parts 
considerable in it : — 

1. That there is a God. 

2. That this God is most glorious. 

I will begin with the first part, and prove, omitting manj phil- 
osophical arguments, that there is a God — a true God ; for 
every nation almost in the world, until Christ's coming, had a 
several god. Some worshiped the sun, some the moon, — called 
by Ezekiel the Queen of Heaven, which some made cakes unto, 
— some the whole heavens, some worshiped the fire, some the 
brute beasts, some Baal, and some Molech. The Romans, saith 
Varro, had six thousand gods ; who, imprisoning the light of 
nature, were given up to sins against nature, either to worship 
idols of man's invention, as the ignorant, or God and angels in 
those idols, as the learned did. But these are all false gods. 

I am now to prove that there is one true God, the Being of 
beings, or the first Being. Although the proving of this point 
seems needless, because every man runs with the cry and faith. 
There is a God, yet few thoroughly believe this point. Many 
of the children of God, who are best able to know men's hearts, 
because they only study their hearts, feel this temptation, Is 
there a God ? bitterly assaulting them sometimes. The devil 
will sometimes undermine, and seek to blow up, the strongest 
walls and bulwarks. The light of nature indeed shows that 



there is a God ; but how many are tliere that, by foul sins 
against their conscience, blow out and extinguish almost all the 
light of nature ! and hence, though they dare not conclude, 
because they have some light, though dim, yet, if they saw their 
heart, they might see it secretly suspect and question whether 
there be a God. But grant that none questions this truth, yet 
we that are builders must not fall to a work without our main 
props and pillars. It may appear, therefore, that there is a 
God from these grounds : — 

First, from the works of God. (Rom. i. 20.) ^Ylien we see a 
stately house, although we see not the man that built it, although 
also we know not the time when it was built, yet will we con- 
clude thus : Surely some wise artificer hath been working here. 
Can we, when we behold the stately theater of heaven and 
earth, conclude other but that the finger, arms, and wisdom of 
God hath been here, although we see not him that is invisible, 
and although we know not the time when he began to build ? 
Every creature in heaven and earth is a loud preacher of this 
truth. Who set those candles, those torches of heaven, on the 
table ? Who hung out those lanterns in heaven to enlighten a 
dark world ? Who can make the statue of a man, but one 
wiser than the stone out of which it is hewn ? Could any frame 
a man but one wiser and greater than man ? Who taught the 
birds to build their nests, and the bees to set up and order their 
commonwealth ? Who sends the sun post from one end of 
heaven to the other, carrying so many thousand blessings to so 
many thousands of people and kingdoms ? AVhat power of man 
or angels can make the least pile of grass, or put life into the 
least fly, if once dead ? There is, therefore, a power above all 
created power, which is God. 

Secondly, from the word of God. There is such a majesty 
stirring, and such secrets revealed in the word, that, if men will 
not be wilfully blind, they cannot but cry out, "The voice of 
, God^ and not the voice of man." Hence Calvin undertakes to 
prove the Scripture to be the word of God by reason, against 
all atheists under heaven. Hast thou not thought sometimes, at 
a sermon, the minister hath spoken to none but thee, and that 
some or other hath told the minister what thou hast said, what 
thou hast done, what thou hast thought ? Now, that word which 
tells thee the thoughts of thy heart can be nothing else but the 
word of an all-seeing God, that searcheth the heart. 

Again : that word which quickeneth the dead is cert^iinly 
God's word ; but the word of God ordinarily preached quicken- 
eth the dead ; it maketh the blind to see, the dumb to speak, the 


deaf to hear, the hime to walk, those that never felt their sins to 
load them to mourn, those that never could pray to breathe out 
unutterable groans and sighs for their sins. 

Thirdly, from the children begotten of God ; for we may 
read in men's foreheads, as soon as ever they are born, the sen- 
tence of death ; and we may see by men's lives what hellish 
hearts they have. Now, there is a time that some of this mon- 
strous brood of men are quite changed, and made all new ; they 
have new minds, new opinions, new desires, new joys, new sor- 
rows, new speeches, new prayers, new lives, and such a differ- 
ence there is betwixt these and others, that they are hated by 
others, who loved them well while they loved their sins. And 
whence came this strange change ? Is it from themselves ? 
No ; for they hated this new life and these new men once them- 
selves. Is it because they would be credited thereby ? No ; it 
is to be hated of father, mother, friends, and maligned every 
where. Is it out of simplicity, or are their brains grown crazy ? 
They were indeed once fools, and I can prove them all to be 
Solomon's fools ; but even simple men have been known to be 
more wise for the world, after they have been made new. But, 
lastly, is it now from a slavish fear of hell, which works this 
alteration ? Nothing less ; they abhor to live like slaves in 
Bridewell, to do all for fear of the whip. 

Fourthly, from God's register, or notary, which is in every 
man ; I mean, the conscience of man, which telleth them there 
is a God ; and although they silence it sometimes, yet in time of 
thunder, or some great plague, as Pharaoh, or at the day of death, 
then they are near God's tribunal, when they acknoAvledge him 
clearly. The fearful terrors of conscience prove this, which, like 
a bailiff, arrests men for their debts ; ergo, there is some creditor 
to set it on : sometimes, like a hangman, it torments men ; ergo, 
there is some strange judge that gave it that command. Whence 
arise these dreadful terrors in men ? Of themselves ? No, surely ; 
all desire to be in peace, and so to live and sleep in a whole skin. 
Comes it from melancholy ? No ; for melancholy comes on by 
degrees ; these terrors of conscience surprise the soul suddenly 
at a sermon, suddenly after the commission of some secret foul 
sin. Again : melancholy sadness may be cured by physic ; but 
many physicians have given such men over to other physicians. 
Melancholy sadness may be borne, but a wounded spirit who can 
bear? Thus you see that there is a God. 

Objection. Who ever saw God, that every one is thus bold to 
affirm that there is a God ? 

Answer. Indeed, his face never was seen by mortal man, but his 


back parts have been seen, are seen, and may be seen by all the 
■world, as hath been proved. 

Object. All things are brought to pass by second causes. 

Ans. 1. What though? Is there no master in the house, 
because the servants do all the work ? This great God maintains 
state by doing all the creatures subjection ; yet sometimes we 
may cry out in beholding some special pieces of his administra- 
tion, Here is the finger of God. 

2. What though there be such confusion in the world as that 
shillings stand for pence, and counters stand for pounds, the best 
men are bought and sold at a low rate, and worst men prized 
and preferred : yet if we had eyes to see and conceive, we should 
see a harmony in this discord of things. God is now like a wise 
carpenter, but hewing out his work. There is a lumber and con- 
fusion seemingly among us ; let us stay till the day of judgment, 
and then we shall see infinite wisdom in fitting all this for his 
own glory, and for the good of his people. 

Object. But if there be a God, why hears he not his people's 
prayers ? Why doth he forget them when they have most need 
of him? 

I answer, Noah's dove returns not presently with an olive 
branch of peace in his mouth. Prayer sometimes that speeds 
well returns not presently, for want of company enough to fetch 
away that abundance of mercy which God hath to give. The 
Lord ever gives them their asking in money or monay worth, in 
the same thing or a better. The Lord ever gives his importunate 
beggars their desires, either in pence by little and little, or by 
pounds ; long he is many times before he gives, but payeth them 
well for their waiting. 

This is a use of reproof to all atheists either in opinion or 

First. In opinion ; such as either conclude or suspect there 
is no God. O, blasphemous thoughts ! Are there any such 
men ? Men ! nay, beasts ; nay, devils ; nay, worse than devils, for 
they believe and tremble. Yet the fool hath said in his heart, 
There is no God. (Ps. xiv. 1.) Men that have little heads, little 
knowledge, without hearts, as scholars sometimes of weak brains, 
being guided only by their books, seeing how things come by 
second causes, yet cannot raise their dull thoughts to the behold- 
ing of a first cause. Great politicians are like children, always 
standing on their heads, and shaking their heels against heaven : 
these think religion to be but a piece of policy, to keep people in 
awe : profane persons desiring to go on in sin, without any rub 
or check for sin, blow out all the light of nature, wishing there 


were no God to puiiis^i, and therefore willing to suspect and 
scruple that not to be which indeed is. Those also that have 
sinned secretly, though not openly against nature, or the light of 
conscience. God smites men for incest, sodomy, self-pollution, 
with dismal blindness. Those also thaJ are notorious worldings, 
that look no higher than their barns, no farther than their shops ; 
the world is a pearl in their eye ; they can not see a God. 

Lastly. I suspect those men that never found out this thief, 
this sin, that was bred and born with them, nor saw it in their 
own hearts, but there it lies still in some dark corner of their 
souls, to cut their throats — these kind of men sometimes suspect 
tliere is no God. O, this is a grievous sin ! for if no God, no 
heaven, no hell, no martyrs, no prophets, no Scriptures. Christ 
was then a horrible liar, and an impostor. Other sins wrong and 
grieve God, and wound him, but this sin stabs the very heart of 
God ; it strikes at the life, and is (as much as lies in sinful man) 
the death of God ; for it saith, There is no God. 

Secondly. This reproveth atheists in practice, which say 
there is a God, and question it not, but in works they deny him. 
He that plucks the king from his throne is as vile as he that 
saith he is no king. These men are almost as bad as atheists in 
opinion. And of such dust heaps we may find in every corner, 
that in their practice deny God ; men that set up other gods in 
God's room ; their wealth, their honor, their pleasure, their backs 
and bellies to be their gods ; men that make bold to do that 
against this true God which idolaters dare not do against their 
idol gods ; and that is, continually to wrong this God ; men that 
seek not for all they want by prayer, nor return all back again 
to God by praise. 

A second use is, for exhortation. O, labor to see and behold 
this God. Is there a God, and wilt thou not give him a good 
look ? O, pass by all the rivers, till thou come to the spring 
liead ; wade through all creatures, until thou art drowned, plunged 
and swallowed up with God. When thou seest the heavens, say, 
Where is that great Builder that made this ? When thou hearest 
of mutations of kingdoms, say, Where is the Lord of hosts, the 
great Captain of these armies ? When thou tastest sweetness in 
the creature, or in God's ordinances, say. Where is sweetness it- 
self, beauty itself? Where is the sea of these drops, the sun of 
these beams ? O that men saw this God ! it's heaven to behold 
him ; thou art then in a corner of hell, that canst not, dost not 
see him : and yet what is less known than God ? Methinks, 
when men hear there is a God about them, they should lie grovel- 
ing in the dust, because of his glory. If men did see him, they 
VOL. I. 2 

14 Till-: srxcERE convkkt. 

would speak of him. Who speaks of God ? Nay, men can not 
speak to God ; but as beggars have learnt to cant, so many a 
man to pray. O, men see not God in prayer ; therefore they can 
not speak to God by prayer. Men sin and God frowns, (wliich 
makes the devils to quake ;) yet men's hearts shake not, because 
they see him not. 

Use 3. O, make choice of this God as thy God. What though 
there be a God ; if it be not thy God, what art thou the better ? 
Down with all thy idol gods, and set up this God. If there be 
any creature that ever did thee any good, that God set not a 
work for thy good, love that ; think on that as thy God. If there 
be any thing that can give thee any succor on thy death bed, 
or when thou art departed from this world, take that to be thy 
God. Thou mightest have been born in India, and never have 
heard the true God, but worshiped the devil for thy god. O, 
therefore, make choice of him alone to be thy God ; give away 
thyself wholly and forever to him, and he will give away his 
whole self everlasting unto thee. Seek him weeping, and thou 
shalt find him. Bind thyself by the strongest oaths and bonds in 
covenant to be his, and he will enter into covenant with thee, and 
so be thine. (Jer. 1. 3, 5.) 

The fourth use is, a use of comfort to them that forsake all for 
this God. Thou hast not lost all for nought, thou hast not cast away 
substance for shadows, but shadows for somewhat. (Prov. viii. 18.) 
When all comfort is gone, there is a God to comfort thee. When 
thou hast no rest here, there is a God to rest in ; when thou art 
dead, he can quicken thee ; when thou art weak, he is strong ; 
and Mdien friends are gone, he will be a sure one to thee. 

Thus much of the first part of this doctrine, or divine truth, 
That there is a God. Now, it foUoweth to show you that this God 
is a most glorious God, and that in four things he is glorious. 

1. In his essence. 2. In his attributes. 3. In his persons. 
4. In his works. 

1. He is glorious in his essence. Now, what this glory is no 
man or angel hath, doth, or ever shall know ; their cockle shell 
can never comprehend this sea ; he must have the wisdom of 
God, and so be a God, that comprehendeth the essence of God ; 
but though it can not be comj^rehended what it is, yet it may be 
apprehended that it is incomprehensible and glorious ; which 
makes his glory to be the more admired, as we admire the luster 
of the sun the more in that it is so great we can not behold it. 

2. God is glorious in his attributes, which are those divine 
perfections whereby he makes himself known unto us. Which 
attributes are not qualities in God, but natures. God's wisdom is 



God himself, and God's power is God himself, etc. Neither are 
they divers things in God, but they are divers only in regard of 
our understanding, and in regard of their different eifects on dif- 
ferent objects. God punishing the wicked is the justice of God ; 
God compassionating the miserable is the mercy of God. 

Now, the attributes of God, omitting curious divisions, are 
these : — 

1. He is a Spirit, or a spiritual God, (John iv. 24;) therefore 
abhors all worship, and all duties performed without the influence 
of the Spirit ; as to confess thy sins without shame or sorrow, 
and to say the Lord's prayer without understanding — to hear 
the word that thou mayest only know more, and not that thou 
mayest be affected more — O, these carcasses of holy duties are 
most odious sacrifices before God. 

2. He is a living God, whereby he liveth of himself, and gives 
life to all other things. Away, then, with thy dead heart to this 
j)rinciple of life to quicken thee, that his almighty power may 
pluck thee out of thy sepulcher, unloose thy grave clothes, that 
so thou mayest live. 

3. He is an infinite God, whereby he is without limits of being. 
(2 Chron. vi. 18.) Horrible, then, is the least sin that strikes 
an infinite, great God, and lamentable is the estate of all those 
with whom this God is angry ; thou hast infinite goodness to for- 
sake thee, and infinite power and wrath to set against thee. 

4. He is an eternal God, without beginning or end of being. 
(Ps. Ixxx. 1.) Great, therefore, is the folly of those men that 
prefer a little short pleasure before this eternal God ; that, like 
Esau, sell away an everlasting inheritance for a httle pottage — 
lor a base lust and the pleasure of it. 

5. He is an all-sufficient God. (Gen. xvii. 1.) What lack you, 
therefore ? you that would fain have this God, and the love of 
this God, but you are loth to take the pains to find him, or to be 
at cost to purchase him with the loss of all ? Here is infinite, 
eternal, present sweetness, goodness, grace, glory, and mercy to 
be found in this God. Why post you from mountain to hill, 
why spend you your money, your thoughts, time, endeavors, on 
things that satisfy not ? Here is thy resting-place. Thy clothes 
may warm thee, but they can not feed thee ; thy meat may feed 
thee, but can not heal thee ; thy physic may heal thee, but can 
not maintain thee ; thy money may maintain thee, but can not 
comfort thee when distresses of conscience and anguish of heart 
come upon thee. This God is joy in sadness, light in darkness, 
life in death, heaven in hell. Here is all thine eye ever saw, 
thine heart ever desired, thy tongue ever asked, thy mind ever 


conceived. Here is all light in this sun, and all water in this 
sea, out of whom, as out of a crystal fountain, thou shalt drink 
down all the refined sweetness of all creatures in heaven and 
earth forever and ever. All the world is now seeking and 
tiring out themselves for rest ; here only it can be found. 

6. He is an omnipotent God, whereby he can do whatever he 
will. Yield, therefore, and stand not out in the sinful or subtle 
close maintenance of any one sin against this God so powerful, 
who can crush thee at liis pleasure. 

7. He is an all-seeing God. He knows what possibly can be 
or may be known : approve thyself, therefore, to this God only, in 
all thy ways. It is no matter what men say, censure, or think of 
thee. It is no matter what thy fellow-actors on this stage of the 
world imagine. God is the great Spectator that beholds thee in 
every place. God is thy Spy, and takes complete notice of all 
the actions of thy life ; and they are in print in heaven, which 
that great Spectator and Judge will open at the great day, and 
read aloud in the ears of all the world. Fear to sin, therefore, in 
secret, unless thou canst find out some dark hole where the eye 
of God can not discern thee. Mourn for thy secret neglect of 
holy duties; mourn for thy secret hypocrisy, whoredom, profane- 
ness, and, with shame in thy face, come before this God for par- 
don and mercy. Admire and wonder at his patience, that, having 
seen thee, hath not damned thee. 

8. He is a true God ; whereby he means to do as he saith. 
Let every child of God, therefore, know to his comfort, that 
whatever he hath under a promise, shall one day be all made 
good ; and let all wicked men know, whatever threatening God 
hath denounced, whatsoever arrows are in the bowstring, will one 
day fly and hit, and strike deep, and the longer the Lord is 
a-drawing, the deeper wound will God's arrow (that is, God's 
threatening) make. 

9. He is a holy God. Be not ashamed, therefore, of holiness, 
which if it ascend above the common strain of honesty, the blind 
and mad world accounts it madness. If the righteous (that is, 
those that be most holy) be scarcely saved, where shall the 
ungodly and the sinner appear ? (1 Pet. iv 18.) Where? Not 
before saints nor angels, for holiness is their trade ; not before 
the face of the man Christ Jesus, for holiness was his meat and 
drink ; not before the face of a blessed God, for holiness is his 
nature ; not in heaven, for no unclean thing crawls there ; they 
shall never see God, Christ, saints, angels, or heaven, to their 
comfort, that are not holy. Wear, therefore, that as thy crown 
now, which will be thy glory in heaven ; and if this be to be vile, 
be more vile. 



10. He is a just and merciful God ; just in himself, and so 
will punish all sin ; merciful in the face of Christ, and so will 
punish no sin, having already borne our punishments for them. 
A just God against a hard-hearted sinner, a merciful God towards 
a humble sinner. God is not all mercy and no justice, nor nil 
justice and no mercy. Submit to him, his mercy enibraceth 
thee. Resist him, his justice pursues thee. When ^ child of 
God is humbled indeed, commonly he makes God a hard-hearted, 
cruel God, loth to help ; and saith, Can such a sinner be pai- 
doned ? A wicked man, that was never humbled, makes God a 
God of lies — one that (howsoever he speaks heavy words, yet 
he is a merciful God and) will not do as he saith, and he finds 
it no difficult work to believe the greatest sin may be pardoned. 
Conceive, therefore, of him as you have heard. 

Thirdly. God is glorious in his persons, which are three : 
Father begetting, Son begotten, and the Holy Ghost, the third 
person, proceeding. Here the Father is called the Father of 
glory, (Eph. i. ;) Christ is called the Lord of glory, (1 Cor. ii ;) 
and the Spirit is called the Spirit of glory. (1 Pet. iv.) The 
Father is glorious in his great work of election ; the Son is 
glorious in his great work of redemption ; the Holy Ghost is 
glorious in his work of application : the Father is glorious in 
choosing the house, the Son is glorious in buying the house, 
the Spirit is glorious in dwelling in the house — that is, the heart 
of a poor, lost sinner. 

4. He is glorious in his works — in his works of creation, and 
in his works of providence and government. Wonder, therefore, 
that he should so vouchsafe to look upon such worms, such dung- 
hills, such lepers as we are ; to provide, protect, to slay his Son ; 
to call, to strive, to wait, to give away himself and all that he is 
worth, unto us. O, fear this God when you come before him. 
People come before God in prayer as before their fellows, or as 
before an idol. People tremble not at his voice in the word. A 
king or monarch will be served in state ; yet how rudely, how 
slovenly do men go about every holy duty ! Thus much of the 
first principal head. That there is one most glorious God. Now 
we are to proceed to the second. 




For tlie opening of which assertion I liave chosen this text, 
(Eccl. vii. 29,) God made man righteous ; which clearly demon- 
strates, - — 

That God made all mankind at first in Adam, in a most glo- 
rious, happj, and righteous estate. INIan, when he came first out 
of God's mint, sliined most glorious. There is a marvelous glory 
in all creatures, (the servants and houseliold stuff of man ;) tliere- 
fore there was a greater glory in man himself, the end of them. 
God calleth a parliament, and gathers a council, when man was 
to be made ; and said, " Come, let us make man in our own 
image," as though all the wisdom of the Trinity should be seen 
in the creation of man. 

Wherein did the glory and blessedness of man appear ? 

In the impression of God's image upon him. (Gen. i. 26.) Can 
there be any greater glory for a Joseph, for a subject, than to be 
like his prince ? 

What was the image of God ? 

The schoolmen and fathers have many curious (yet some 
necessary) though difficult questions about this. I will omit all 
theirs, and tell you only what is the apostle's judgment, (Col. iii. 
20,) out of which this general description of God's image may 
be thus gathered : It is man's perfection of holiness, resembling 
God's admirable holiness, whereby only man pleaseth God. 

For all other inferior creatures did carry the marks and footsteps 
of God's power, wisdom, goodness, whereby all these attributes 
were seen. One of the most perfect attributes, his holiness, he 
would have men only appear in, and be made manifest by man, 
his best inferior creature, as a king's wisdom and bounty appears 
in managing the affairs of all his kingdom ; but his royal, princely, 
and most eminent perfections appear in the face and disposition 
of his Son, next under him. But more particularly this image 
of God appeared in these four jjarticulars : — 

1. In man's understanding. Tliis was like unto God's. Now, 
God's image here chiefly consisted in this particular, viz. : As 
God saw himself, and beheld his own infinite, endless glory and 
excellency, so man was privy to God's excellency, and saw God 
most gloriously ; as Moses, though a sinful man, saw him face 
to face, much more Adam, a perfect man. God, loving man, 
could do no less than reveal himself to man. 


2. In his affections. The image of God chiefly appeared in 
two things : — 

First. As God, seeing himself, loved himself, so Adam, seeing 
God, loved this God more than the world, more than himself. 
As iron put into the fire seems to be nothing but fire, so Adam, 
being beloved of God, was turned into a lump of love, to love 
God again. 

Secondly. As God delighted in himself, so did Adam delight 
in God, took sweet repose in the bosom of God. Methinks I 
see Adam rapt up in continual ecstasies in having this God. 

3. In his will. The image of God chiefly appeared in two 
things : — 

First. As God only willed himself as his last end, so did Adam 
will God as his last end, not as man doth now. 

Secondly. As God willed nothing but good, so did Adam will 
nothing, though not immutably, but good ; for God's will was his. 

4. In his life, God's image did appear thus : that, even as 
God, if he had assumed man's nature, would have lived out- 
wardly, so did Adam ; for God would have lived according to 
his own will, law, and rule : so did Adam. Adam's body was 
the lantern through which holiness, like a lamp burning in his 
heart, shined. This was God's image, by means of which, as it 
is said in the description, he pleased God, similitude being the 
ground of love ; and hence God did most dearly love him, and 
highly honor him to be Lord over all creatures. No evil (con- 
tinuing in that estate) could hurt him ; here was no sorrow, no 
sickness, no tears, no fears, no death, no hell, nor ever should 
have been if there he had stood. 

Objection. How was this estate ours ? 

'Answer. As Christ's righteousness is a believer's by imputation, 
though he never performed it himself, so Adam's righteousness 
and image were imputed to us, and accounted ours ; for Adam 
received our stock or patrimony to keep it for us, and to convey 
it to us. Hence, he proving bankrupt, we lost it. But we had it 
in his hands, as an orphan may have a great estate left him, though 
he never receive one penny of it from him that was his guardian, 
that should have kept it for him, and conveyed it to him. 

Here see the horrible nature of sin, that plucks man down by 
the ears from his throne, from his perfection, though never so 
great. Adam might have pleaded for himself, and have said, 
Although I have sinned, yet it is but one and the first fault, 
Lord, behold, I am thy first born. O, pity my poor posterity, 
who are forever undone if thou forgivest not. Yet see, one 
sin weighs him down and all his posterity, as we shall hear, into 
eternal ruin. 

20 THE sinop:re convert. 

Hence learn how justly God may require perfect obedience 
to all the law of every man, and curse him if he can not perform 
it, because man was at first made in such a glorious estate, 
wherein he had power given him to please God perfectly. God 
may, therefore, require this debt of perfect obedience. Now 
■man is broke, and in prison ; in hell he must lie forever, if he 
can not pay justice every farthing, because God trusted him with 
a stock which if he had well improved, he might have paid all. 

See what cause every man hath to lament his miserable estate 
he is now fallen into. For beggars' children to live vagrants 
and poor is not so lamentable as for a great prince's children to 
become such. One never in favor with the prince grieves not 
as he doth that was once in favor, but now cast out. Man is 
now rejected of God that was beloved of God. He is now a 
runagate up and down the earth that was once a prince and lord 
of all the world. This is one aggravation of the damned's sor- 
row. O, the hopes, the means, the mercies that once I had ! 
Can these, do these lament for the loss of their hopes and com- 
mon mercies ? Lord, what hearts, then, have men that can not, 
do not, that will not lament the loss of such special high favors, 
now gone, which once they had ? It is said that those that saw 
the glory of the first temple wept when they saw the glory of 
the second, and how inferior it was to the first. You that either 
have the temple of God begun to be repaired in you, or not 
begun at all, O, think of the temple burnt, the glory of God now 
vanished and lost. 

This speaks comfort to all God's people. If all Adam's pos- 
terity were perfectly righteous in him, then thou that art of the 
blood royal, and in Christ art perfectly righteous in him much 
more, inasmuch as the righteousness of the second Adam exceeds 
the first, so art thou more happy, more holy in the second Adam 
than ever the first in himself was. He might lose all his right- 
eousness ; but the second Adam can not, hath not ; so that, if 
Christ may be damned, then thou mayest ; else not. 

This likewise reproveth three sorts of people : — 

1. Such as are ashamed of holiness. Lord, what times are 
we fallen into now ? The image of God, which was once men's 
glory, is now their shame ; and sin, which is men's shame, is 
now their glory. The world hath raised up many false reports 
of holy courses, calling it folly and preciseness, pride, hypocrisy, 
and that, whatsoever shows men may make, they are as bad as 
the worst, if their sins were writ in their foreheads. Hence it 
cometh to pass that many a man, who is almost persuaded to be 
a new man, and to turn over a new leaf, dares not, will not, for 


shame o\' the world, enter upon religious courses. What will 
they think of me then ? saith he. Men are a^shamed to refuse 
to drink healths, and hence maintain them lawful. Our gallants 
are ashamed to stay a mile behind the fashion ; hence they will 
defend open and naked breasts and strange apparel, as things 
comely. O, time servers ! that have some conscience to desire 
to be honest, and to be reputed so, yet conform themselves to ail 
companies. If they hear others swear, they are ashamed to 
reprove them ; they are ashamed to enter the lists of holy dis- 
course in bad company ; and they will pretend discretion, and 
we must not cast pearls before swine ; but the bottom of the 
business is, they are ashamed to be holy, O, fearful ! Is it a 
shame to be like God ? 0, sinful wretches I It is a credit to 
be any thing but religious, and, with many, religion is a shame. 
I wonder with what face thou darest pray, or wdth what look 
thou Avilt behold the Lord of glory at the last day, who art 
ashamed of him now, that will be admired of all men, angels, 
and devils then ? Dost thou look for w^ages from Christ that 
art ashamed to own Christ, or to wear his livery ? 

2. It reproves tliem that hate holiness, which is more than to 
be ashamed of it. 

3. It reproves them that content themselves with a certain 
measure of holiness. Perfect holiness was Adam's image, 
whereby he pleased God ; and shall a little holiness content 
thee ? 

Now, there are these three sorts of them : — 

1. The formalist, who contents himself with some holiness, as 
much as will credit him. 

The form and name of religion is honos, honor sometimes ; 
but the power and practice of it is onus, a burden ; hence men 
take up the first, and shake off the second. And indeed the 
greatest part take up this course : if they have no goodness, 
they should be the shame, scorn, and table talk of the times ; 
therefore every man will, for his honor's sake, have this form. 
Now, this form is according to the mold wherein he is cast. If 
his acquaintance be but civil, he will be like them ; if they be 
more exact, as to pray, read, confer, he will not stay one inch 
behind them. If to be better than his companions, to bear the 
bell before them, will credit him, he will be so, whatever it cost 
him ; but yet he never will be so exact in his course as to be 
hated for it, unless he perceives the hatred he contracts from 
some men shall be recompensed with the more love and credit 
by other men. He disguiseth himself according to the places or 
company he comes into. King Joash was a good man so long 


as Jeholada the priest lived. If* a little religion will sen'e to 
credit men, that shall serve for that time ; it' more in another 
place, you shall then have them commending good men, good 
sermons, good books, and drop forth two or three good sentences. 
AYhat will they think of him then ? 1'hey cover themselves 
over with these tig leaves of common honesty to cover their 
nakedness ; they bait all their courses over with honesty, that 
they may catch, for they fish only for credit. One may trap 
these people thus : Follow them in their private houses, there is 
worldliness, passion, looseness ; and to their private chambers, 
there they ordinarily neglect or snuffle over duties to their pri- 
vate vain thoughts. In this tyring house you shall then see these 
stage players ; their shop windows are shut ; here no honesty 
is to be seen scarce, because their gain, their respect, comes not 
in at this door, where none beholds them. Let either minister 
or any faithful friend search, try, discover, accuse, and condemn 
these men as rotten, though gilded, posts, as unsound, hollow- 
hearted wretches, their hearts will swell like toads, and hiss like 
snakes, and bark like dogs, against them that thus censure them, 
because they rob them of their God they served, their gain is 

2. The guilty, self-condemned sinner, that goes further than 
the formalist, and contents himself with so much holiness as will 
quiet him ; and hence all the heathen have had some religion, 
because they had some conscience to trouble them. This man, 
if he hath lived in foul sins, and begins to be racked and troubled 
for them, he will then confess and forsake those sins. But how ? 
As a dog doth his meat ; not because he hates his carrion, but 
because he fears the cudgel. He performs holy duties, not 
because he will use them, but because he must use them ; there 
is no quiet else. If conscience be still, he omits duties ; if con- 
science cry and stir, he falls to duties, and so hath his good mood 
as conscience hath his fits. They boast and crow over hypo- 
crites, because the holiness they have is not a bare show. No ; 
but it is to stop thy conscience, and only to quiet the clamors of 
that. Thou dost bribe, and so quiet (the bailiff) thy conscience, 
by thy praying, hearing, and sorrowing ; but God, thy Judge, 
hath heavy things to lay to thy charge, before whom thou shalt 
shortly with dread appear. 

3. The pining and devout hypocrite, that, being pursued with 
the fear of hell, goes further, and labors for just so much holi- 
ness as will save him only, and carry him to heaven at last. 
Hence the young man in the gospel came with that great question 
to Christ, wdiich many unsound hearts come with to ministers 


now — what he should do to inherit eternid life. These people 
set up such a man in their thoughts to be a very honest man, and 
one doubtless that shall be saved ; and hence they will take him 
to be their copy and sampler, and labor to do as he doth, and to 
live just as he lives, and to hold opinions as he holds, and so 
hope to be saved. They will ask, very inquisitively, What is the 
least measure of grace, and the least grain of faith ? and the best 
sermons are not such as humble them most, but such as flatter 
them best ; wherein they may hear how well good desires ai*e 
accepted of by God ; which if they hear to be of that virtue to 
save them, God shall be served only wdth good desires, and the 
devil in their actions all their lives. 

Thus they make any thing serve for God ; they labor not after 
so much holiness as will honor Christ, but after just so much as 
will bear their charges to heaven, and save themselves. For this 
is one of the greatest diiFerences betwixt a child of God and a 
hypocrite. In their obedience, the one takes up duties out of love 
to Christ, to have him ; and hence he mourns daily, because Christ 
is no greater gainer by him ; the other out of love to himself, mere- 
ly to save his own soul ; and hence he mourns for his sins, because 
they may damn him. Remember that place, therefore, 1 Cor. xv. ult. 

Lastly. Labor to get this image of God renewed again. Honest 
men will labor to pay their debts ; this is God's debt. How do 
men labor to be in the fashion ! Better to be out of the world 
than out of the fashion. To be like God is heaven's fashion, 
angels' fashion, and it w^ill be in fashion one day, when the Lord 
Jesus shall appear ; then, if thou hast the superscription and image 
of the devil, and not the image of God upon thee, God and Christ 
will never own thee at that day. Labor, therefore, to have God's 
image restored again, and Satan's wash out ; seek not, as many do, 
to purchase such and such a grace first. But, — 

1. Labor to mortify and subdue that sin which is opposite in 
thine heart to that grace. First put off the old man, and then 
put on the new. (Eph. iv.) 

2. Labor for a melting, tender heart for the least sin. Gold is 
then only fit to receive the impression when it is tender and is 
melted ; when thine heart is heated, therefore, at a sermon, cry 
out, Lord, now strike, now imprint thine image upon me ! 

3. Labor to see the Lord Jesus in his glory. For as wicked 
men, looking upon the evil example of great ones in the world, 
that will bear them out, grow like them in villainy, so the very 
beholding the glorious grace in Christ, this great Lord of glory, 
transformeth men into this image. (2 Cor. iii. 17, 18.) As the 
glass, set full against the sun, receives not only the beams, as all 


other dark bodies do, but the image of the sun, so the understand- 
ing, with open face beholding Christ, is turned into the image and 
likeness of Christ. Men nowadays look only to the best men's 
lives, and see how they walk, and rest here. O, look higher to 
this blessed face of God in Christ as thine own. As the applica- 
tion of the seal to the wax imprints the image, so to view the 
grace of Christ as all thine imprints the same image strongly on 
the soul. I come now to the third principal head in order, which 
I shall insist upon, out of Rom. iii. 23 : " All have sinned and 
deprived of the glory of God." 



The devil abusing the serpent, and man abusing his own free 
will, overthrew Adam, and in him all his posterity, by sin. ( Gen. 
iii. 1-3 etc.) 

Now, man's misery appears in these two things : — 

1. His misery in regard of sin. 

2. His misery in regard of the consequences of sin. 

1. His misery in regard of sin appears in these particulars : — 

1. Every man living is born guilty of Adam's sin. Now, the 
justice and equity of God, in laying this sin to every man's charge, 
though none of Adam's posterity personally committed it, ap- 
pears thus : — 

First. If Adam standing, all mankind had stood, then it is 
equal, that he falling, all his posterity should fall. All our estates 
were ventured in this ship : therefore, if we should have been 
partakers of his gains, if he had continued safe, it is fit we should 
be partakers of his loss too. 

But, secondly. We are all in Adam, as a whole country in a 
parliament man ; the whole country doth what he doth. And 
although we made no particular choice of Adam to stand for us, 
yet the Lord made it for us ; who, being goodness itself, bears more 
good will to man than he can or could bear to himself ; and being 
wisdom itself, made the wisest choice, and took the wisest course 
for the good of man. For this made most for men's safety and 
quiet ; for if he had stood, all fear of losing our happy estate had 
vanished ; whereas, if every man had been left to stand or fall 
for himself, a man would ever have been in fear of iiilling. 


And again : this was the sure way to have all men's states 
preserved ; for having the charge of the estates of all men that 
ever should be in the world, he was the more pressed to look the 
more about him, and so to be more watchful, that he be not 
robbed, and so undo and procure the curses of so many thousands 
against him. Adam was the head of mankind, and all mankind 
naturally are members of that head ; and if the head invent and 
plot treason, and the head practice treason against the king or 
state, the whole body is found guilty, and the whole body must 
needs suffer. Adam was the poisoned root and cistern of all 
mankind : now, the branches and streams being in the root and 
spring originally, they therefore are tainted with the same poi- 
soned principles. If these things satisfy not, God ^hath a day 
coming wherein he will reveal his own righteous proceedings 
before men and angels. (Rom. ii. 4.) 

O that men would consider this sin, and that the consideration 
of it could humble people's hearts ! If any mourn for sin, it is 
for the most part for other foul actual sins ; few for this sin that 
tirst made the breach, and began the controversy betwixt God 
and man. Next unto the sin against the Holy Ghost, and con- 
tempt of the gospel, this is the greatest sin that crieth loudest 
in God's ears for vengeance, day and night, against a world of 
men. For now men's sins are against God in their base and low 
estates ; but this sin was committed against Jehovah, when man 
w^as at the top of his preferment. Rebellion of a traitor on a 
dunghill is not so great as of a favorite in court. Little sins 
against light are made horrible. No sin, by any man committed, 
was ever against so much light as Adam had. This sin was the 
first that ever displeased God. Drunkenness deprives God of 
the glory of sobriety ; whoring, of chastity ; but this sin darkens 
the very sun, defaces all the image of God, the glory of man, and 
the glory of God in man ; this is the first sin ever did thee mis- 
chief. This sin, like a captain, hath gathered together all those 
troops and swarms of sins that now take hold upon thee. Thank 
this sin for a hard heart thou so much complainest of; thank this sin 
for that hellish darkness that overspreads thee. This hath raised 
Satan, death, judgment, hell, and heaven against thee, 

O, consider these sins that are packed up in this evil. 1. Fear- 
ful apostasy from God like a devil. 2. Horrible rebellion against 
God in joining sides with the devil, and taking God's greatest 
enemies' part against God. 3. Woful unbelief, in suspecting 
God's threats to be true. 4. Fearful blasphemy in conceiving 
the devil (God's enemy and man's murderer) to be more true in 
his temptations than God in his threatening. 5. Horrible pride, 

VOL. I. 3 


in thinking to make this sin of eating tlie forbidden fruit to 
be a step and a stair to rise higher, and to be like God himself. 

6. Fearful contempt of God, making bold to rush upon the sword 
of the threatening secretly, not fearing the plague denounced. 

7. Horrible unthankfulness, when God had given him all but one 
tree, and yet he must be fingering that too. 8. Horrible theft,' 
in taking that which was none of his own. 9. Horrible idolatry, 
in doting upon and loving the creature more than God the 
Creator, who is blessed forever. 

You, therefore, that now say, No man can say, Black is your 
eye, you have lived civilly all your days, look upon this one 
grievous sin, take a full view of it, which thou hast never shed 
one tear for as yet, and see thy misery by it, and wonder at 
God's patience ; he hath spared thee who wast born branded with 
it, and hast lived guilty of it, and must perish forever for it, if 
the Lord from heaven pity thee not. 

But here is not all. Consider, secondly, every man is born stark 
dead in sin. (Ephes. ii. 1.) He is born empty of every inward 
principle of life, void of all grace, and hath no more good in 
him (whatsoever he thinks) than a dead carrion hath. And 
he is under the power of sin, as a dead man is under the power 
of death, and can not perform any act of life ; their bodies are 
living coffins to carry a dead soul up and down in. 

It is true, (I confess,) many wicked men do many good actions, . 
as praying, hearing, alms deeds ; but it is not from any inward 
principle of life. External motives, like plummets on a dead 
(yet artificial) clock, set them a-running. Jehu was zealous, 
but it was only for a kingdom ; the Pharisees gave alms only to 
be seen of men. If one write a will with a dead man's hand 
deceased, that will can not stand in any law ; it was not his will, 
because it was not writ by him, by any inward principle of 
life of his own. Pride makes a man preach, pride makes a man 
hear, and pray sometimes. Self-love stirs up strange desires in 
men, so that we may say. This is none of God's act by his grace in 
the soul, but pride and self-love. Bring a dead man to the fire, 
and chafe him, and rub him, you may produce some heat by this 
external working upon him ; but take him from the fire again, 
and he is soon cold ; so many a man that lives under a sound 
minister, under the lashes and knock of a chiding, striving con- 
science, he hath some heat in him, some affections, some fears, 
some desires, some sorrows stirred ; yet take him from the min- 
ister and his chafing conscience, and he grows cold again pres- 
ently, because he wants an inward principle of life. 

Which point might make us to take up a bitter lamentation for 


every nRlural man. It is said, (Ex. xii. 30,) "That there was 
a great cry in Egypt, for there was not a house wherein there 
was not one found dead." O Lord, in some towns and families, 
what a world of these are there ! Dead husband, dead wife, 
dead servants, dead children, walking up and down with their 
.sins, (as fame saith some men do after death,) with grave clothes 
about them ; and God only knows whether ever they shall live 
again or not. How do men lament the loss of their dead friends ! 
O, thou hast a precious soul in thy bosom stark dead ; therefore 
lament thine estate, and consider it seriously. 

First. A dead man can not stir, nor offer to stir ; a wicked man 
can not speak one good word, or do any good action, if heaven 
itself did lie at the stake for doing it, nor offer to shake off his 
sins, nor think one good thought. Indeed, he may speak and 
think of good things, but he can not have good speeches, nor 
good thoughts ; as a holy man may think of evil things as of 
the sins of the times, the thought of those evil things is good, 
not evil, so e contra. 

Secondly. A dead man fears no dangers, though never so 
great, though never so near. Let ministers bring a natural 
man tidings of the approach of the devouring plagues of God de- 
nounced, he fears them not. 

Thirdly. A dead man can not be drawn to accept of the best 
offers. Let Christ come out of heaven, and fall about the neck 
of a natural man, and with tears in his eyes beseech him to take 
his blood, himself, his kingdom, and leave his sins, he can not 
receive this offer. 

Fourthly. A dead man is stark blind, and can see nothing, and 
stark deaf, and hears nothing, he can not taste any thing ; so a 
natural man is stark blind, he sees no God, no Christ, no wrath 
of the Almighty, no glory of heaven. He hears the voice of a 
man, but he hears not the voice of God in a sermon ; " he savor- 
eth not the things of God's Spirit." 

Fifthly. A dead man is senseless, and feels nothing : so cast 
mountains of sin upon a wicked man, he feels no hurt until the 
flames of hell break out upon him. 

Sixthly. A dead man is a speechless man ; he can not speak 
unless it be like a parrot. 

Seventhly. He is a breathless man : a natural man may say a 
prayer, or devise a prayer out of his memory and wit, or he may 
have a few short-winded wishes ; but to pour out his soul in 
prayer, in the bosom of God, with groans unutterable, he can not. 
I wonder not to see so many families without family prayer. 
Why ? They are dead men, and lie rotting in their sins. 

2$ Tin: s IXC ERE convekt. 

Eiglitlilj. A dead man liatli lost nil beauty : so a mere nadiral 
man hath lost all glory ; he is an ugly creature in the sight of 
God, good men, and angels, and shall one day be an abhorring 
to all flesh. 

Ninthly. A dead man hath his worms gnawing him : so natural 
men have the worm of conscienee breeding now ; which will be 
gnawing them shortly. 

Lastly. Dead men want nothing but casting into the grave : so 
there wants nothing but casting into hell for a natural man. So 
that, as Abraham loved Sarah well while living, yet when slie was 
dead, he set^ks for a burying-place for her to carry her out of his 
sight. So God may let some fearful judgment loose, and say to 
it. Take this dead soul out of my sight, etc. It was a wonder 
that Lazarus, though lying but Tour days in the grave, should 
live again. O, wonder thou that ever God should let thee live, 
that hast been rotting in thy sin twenty, thirty, perhaps sixty 
years together. 

IlL Every natural man and woman is born full of all sin, 
(Rom. i. 29,) as full as a toad is of poison, as full as ever his skin 
can hold ; mind, will, eyes, mouth, every limb of his body, and 
every piece of his soul, is full of sin ; their hearts are bundles of 
sin ; hence Solomon saith, " Foolishness is bound up in the heart 
of a child ; " whole treasures of sin. " An evil man, (said Christ,) 
out of the evil treasure of his heart, bringeth forth evil things ; " 
nay, raging seas of sin. The tongue is a world of mischief. 
What is the heart then ? " For out of the abundance of the 
heart the tongue speaketh ;" so that, look about thee and see, what- 
ever sin is broached, and runs out of any man's heart into his 
life through the whole world, all those sins are in thine heart ; 
thy mind is a nest of all the foul opinions, heresies, that ever 
were vented by any man ; thy heart is a foul sink of all atheism, 
sodomy, blasphemy, murder, whoredom, adultery, witchcraft, 
buggery ; so that, if thou hast any good thing in thee, it is but 
as a drop of rosewater in a bowl of poison ; where fallen it is 
all corrupted. 

It is true thou feelest not all these things stirring in thee at 
one time, no moi-e than Hazael thought he was or should be such 
a bloodsucker, when he asked the i>rophet Elislia if he were a 
dog ; but they are in thee like a nest of snakes in an old hedge. 
Although they break not out into thy life, they lie lurking in thy 
heart; they are there as a fllthy puddle in a barrel, which runs 
not out, because thou happily wantest the temptation or occasion 
to broach and tap thine heart ; or because of God's restraining 
grace by fear, shame, education, and good company, thou art 


restrained and bridled up, and therefore when one came to com- 
fort that famous picture, pattern, and monument of God's justice 
by seven years' horror, and grievous distress of conscience, when 
one told him he never had committed such sins as Manasses, and 
therefore he was not the greatest sinner since the creation, as he 
conceived, he replied, that he should have been worse than ever 
Manasses was, if he had lived in his time, and been on his 

Mr. Bradford would never have looked upon any one's lewd 
life with one eye, but he would presently return within his own 
breast with the other eye, and say, "In this my vile breast re- 
mains that sin, which, without God's special grace, I should have 
committed as well as he." O, methinks this might pull down 
men's proud conceits of themselves, especially such as bear up 
and comfort themselves in their smooth, honest, civil life ; such 
as through education have been washed from all foul sins ; they 
were never tainted with whoredom, swearing, drunkenness, or 
profaneness ; and here they think themselves so safe, that God 
can not find in his heart to have a thought of damning them. 

0, consider of this point, which may make thee pull thine hair 
from thine head, and turn thy clothes to sackcloth, and run up 
and down with amazement and paleness in thy face, and horror 
in thy conscience, and tears in thine eyes. What though thy life 
be smooth, what though thy outside, thy sepulcher, be painted ? 
O, thou art full of rottenness, of sin, within. Guilty, not before 
men, as the sins of thy life make thee, but before God, of all the 
sins that swarm and roar in the whole world at this day, for God 
looks to the heart ; guilty thou art therefore of heart whoredom, 
heart sodomy, heart blasphemy, heart drunkenness, heart bug- 
gery, heart oppression, heart idolatry ; and these are the sins 
that terribly provoke the wrath of Almighty God against thee. 
(Is. Ivii. 17.) "For the iniquity of his covetousness," saith our 
translation, "I smote him ;" but the Hebrew renders it better — 
" For the iniquity of his concupiscence " (which is the sin of his 

j heart and nature) " I smote him." As a king is angry and 
I musters up his army against rebels, not only which brings his 
j soldiers out to fight, but who keeps soldiers in their trenches 
: ready for to fight. These sins of thine heart are all ready 
'. armed to fight against God at the watchword or alarm of any 
! temptation. Nay, I dare afiirm and will prove it, that these sins 
I provoke God to anger, and are as bad, if not worse, than the sins 
of thy life. For, — 

1. The sin of thine heart or nature is the cause, the womb 
that contains, breeds, brings forth, suckles all the litter, all th^ 


troop of sins that are in thy life ; and therefore, giving life and 
being to all other, it is the greatest sin. 

2. Sin is more abundantly in the heart than in the life. An 
actual sin is but a little breach made by the sea of sin in thine 
heart, where all sin, all poison, is met and mingled together. 
Every actual sin is but as a shred broken off from the great bottom 
of sin in the heart ; and hence Christ saith, " Out of the abun- 
dance of the heart the mouth speaketh ; and out of the evil 
treasure of the heart we bring forth evil things." A man spend- 
ing money (I mean sin in the hfe) is nothing to his treasure of 
sin in the heart. 

o. Sin is continually in the heart. Actual sins of the life fly 
out like sparks, and vanish ; but this brand is always glowing 
within : the toad spits poison sometimes, but it retains and keeps 
a poisonful nature always. Hence the apostle calls it " sin that 
dwells in me," that is, which always lies and remains in me. So 
that, in regard of the sins of thy heart, thou dost rend in pieces 
and break, 1. All the laws of God. 2. At one clap. 3. Ev- 
ery moment of thy life. O, methinks the thought of this 
might rend a heart of rock in pieces ; to think I am always 
grieving God at all times, whatsoever I do. 

4. Actual sins are only in the life and outward porch ; sins of 
the heart are within the ^inward house. One enemy within the 
city is worse than many without ; a traitor on the throne 
is worse than a traitor in the open field. The heart is Christ's 
throne. A swine in the best room is worse than in the out- 
ward house. More I might say ; but thus, you see, sins of the 
life are not so bad, nor provoke God's wrath so fiercely against 
thee, as the sins of thine heart. Mourn, therefore, not so much 
that thou hast not been so bad as others are, but look upon thy 
black feet — look within thine own heart, and lament that, in 
regard of thy sins there, thou art as bad as any ; mourn not so 
much merely that thou hast sinned, as that thou hast a nature so 
sinful, that it is thy nature to be proud, and thy nature to be vain 
and deceitful, and loathe not only thy sins, but thyself for thy 
sin, being brimful of unrighteousness. But here is not all. 
Consider fourthly, 

IV. That whatever a natural man doth is sin; as the in- 
side is full, so the outside is nothing else but sin, at least in the 
sight of a holy God, though not in the sight of blind, sinful 
men. Indeed, be may do many things, which, for the matter of 
them, are good ; as he may give alms, pray, fast, come to 
church : but as they come from him they are sin ; as a man 
may speak good words, but we can not endure to hear him speak, 
because of his stinking breath which defiles them. Some ^ctipns 


indeed, from their general nature, are indifferent, for all indiffer- 
ences lie in generals ; but every deliberate action, considered in 
individuo, with all its circumstances, as time, })lace, motive, end, 
is either morally good or morally evil, as may be proved easily ; 
morally good in good men, morally evil in unregenerate and bad 
men. For let us see particular actions of wicked men. 

1. All their thoughts are only evil, and that continually. 
(Gen. vi. b.) 

2. All their words are sins, (Ps. 1. 16 ;) their mouths are open 
sepulchers, which smell filthy when they are opened. 

i3. All their civil actions are sins, as their eating, drinking, 
buying, selling, sleeping, and ploughing. (Prov. xxi. 4.) 

4. All their religious actions are sins, as coming to church, 
praying, (Prov. xv. 8, 9 ; xxviii. 9,) fasting and mourning : roar 
and cry out of thyself till doomsday, they are sins. (Is. Iviii.) 

5. All their most zealous actions are sins, as Jehu, who killed 
all Baal's priests : because his action was outwardly and mate- 
rially good, therefore God rewarded him with temporal favors ; 
but because he had a hawk's eye to get and settle a kingdom to 
himself by this means, and so was theologically evil, therefore 
God threatens to be revenged upon him. (Hosea i. 4.) 

6. Their wisdom is sin. O, men are often commended for 
their wisdom, wit, and parts ; yet those wits, and that wisdom of 
theirs, are sin. (Rom. viii.) The wisdom of the fiesh is enmity 
against God. 

Thus all they have or do are sins ; for how can he do any 
good action whose person is filthy ? " A corrupt tree can not 
bring forth good fruit : " thou art out of Christ ; therefore all thy 
good things, all thy kindnesses done unto the Lord, and for the 
Lord, as thou thinkest, are most odious to him. Let a woman 
seek to give all the content to her husband that may be, not out 
of any love to him, but only out of love to another man, he 
abhors all that she doth. Every wicked man wants an inward 
principle of love to God and Christ, and therefore, though he 
seeks to honor God never so much, all that he doth being done 
out of love to himself, God abhors all that he performs. All the 
good things a wicked man doth are for himself, either for self- 
credit or self-ease, or self-content, or self-safety ; he sleeps, 
prays, hears, speaks, professeth for himself alone ; hence, acting 
always for himself, he committeth the highest degree of idolatry ; 
he plucks God out of his throne, and makes himself a god, 
Ix-cause he makes himself his last end in every action ; for a 
num puts himself in the room of God as well by making him- 
self his Jinis ultimas, as if he should make himself primum 


principium. Sin is a forsaking or departing from God. Now, 
every natural man remaining always in a state of separation 
from God, because he always wants the bond of union, which is 
faith, is always sinning ; God's curse lies u}X)n him ; therefore he 
brings out nothing but briers and thorns. 

Objection. But thou wilt say, If our praying and hearing be sin, 
why should we do these duties ? We must not sin. 

Aris2ver 1. Good duties are good in themselves, although, coming 
from thy vile heart, they are sins. 

2. It is less sin to do them than to omit them ; therefore, if 
thou wilt go to hell, go in the fairest path thou canst in thither. 

3. Venture and try ; it may be God may hear, not for thy 
prayers' sake, but for his name's sake. The unjust judge helped the 
poor widow, not because he loved her suit, but for her importu- 
nity ; and so be sure thou shalt have nothing if thou dost not 
seek. What though thou art a dog, yet thou art alive, and art for 
the present under the table. Catch not at Christ, snatch not at 
his bread, but wait till God give thee him ; it may be thou 
mayest have him one day. O, w^onder then at God's patience, 
that thou livest one day longer, who hast all thy lifetime, like a 
filthy toad, spit thy venom in the face of God, that he hath never 
been quit of thee. O, look upon that black bill that will one 
day be put in against thee at the great day of account, where 
thou must answer with flames of fire about thine ears, not 
only for thy drunkenness, thy bloody oaths and whoring, but for 
all the actions of thy short life, and just so many actions so 
many sins. 

Thou hast painted thy face over now with good duties and 
good desires ; and a little honesty, amongst some men, is of that 
worth and rarity, that they think God is beholding to them, if he 
can get any good action from. But when thy painted face shall 
be brought before the fire of God's wrath, then thy vileness shall 
appear before men and angels. O, know it, that as thou dost 
nothing else but sin, so God heaps up wrath against the dreadful 
day of wrath. 

Thus much for man's misery in regard of sin. 

Now foUoweth his misery in regard of the consequents or mis- 
eries that follow upon sin. And these are, 1. Presence. 2. Future. 

First. Man's present miseries, that already he on him for sin, 
are these seven ; that is, — 

First. God is his dreadful enemy. (Ps. v. 5.) 

Question. How may one know another to be his enemy? 

Answer 1. By their looks. 2. By their threats. 3. By their 
blows. So God, — 


1. Hides his face from eveiy natural man, and will not look 
upon him. (Is. lix. 2.) 

2. God threatens, nay, eurseth every natural man. (Gal. iii. 10.) 

3. God gives them heavy, bloody lashes on their souls and 

Never tell rae, therefore, that God blesseth thee in thine out- 
ward estate ; no greater sign of God's wrath than for the Lord 
to give thee thy swing, as a father never looks after a desperate 
son, but lets him run where he pleases. And if God be thine 
enemy, then every creature is so too, both in heaven and earth. 

Secondly. God hath forsaken them, and they have lost God. 
(Eph. ii. 12.) It is said, that, in the grievous famine of Samaria, 
doves' dung was sold at a large price, because they wanted 
bread. O, men live and pine away without God, without bread, 
and therefore the dung of worldly contentments are esteemed so 
much of, thou hast lost the sight of God, and the favor of God, 
and the special protection of God, and the government of God. 
Cain's punishment lies upon thee in thy natural estate ; thou art a 
runagate from the face of God, and from his face thou art hid. 
Many have grown mad to see their houses burnt, and all their 
goods lost. O, but God, the greatest good, is lost. This loss made 
Saul cry out in distress of conscience, (1 Sam. xxviii. 15,) The 
Philistines make war against me, and God is departed from me ; 
the loss of the sweetness of whose presence, for a little while only, 
made the Lord Jesus Christ cry out. My God, my God, why hast 
thou forsaken me ? whereas thou hast lost God all thy lifetime. 
O, thou hast a heart of brass, that canst not mourn for his absence 
so long. The damned in hell have lost God, and know it, and so 
the plague of desperate horror lieth upon them ; thou hast lost 
God here, but knowest it not, and the plague of a hard heart lieth 
upon thee, thou that canst not mourn for this loss. 

Thirdly. They are condemned men, condemned in the court 
of God's justice, by the law which cries, Treason, treason against 
the most high God, and condemned in the court of mercy, by the 
gospel, which cries. Murder, murder against the Son of God, 
(John iii. 18 ;) so that every natural man is damned in heaven, 
and damned on earth. God is thy all-seeing, terrible Judge ; con- 
science is thine accuser, a heavy witness ; this world is thy jail ; 
thy lusts are thy fetters. In this Bible is pronounced and writ 
thy doom, thy sentence. Death is thy hangman, and that tire that 
shall never go out thy torment. The Lord hath in his infinite 
patience reprieved thee for a time ; O, take heed and get a par- 
don before the day of execution come. 

Fourthly. Being condemned, take him, jailer ; he is a bondslave 


to Satan, (Epli. ii. 3;) for, His servants ye are whom ye obey, 
saitli Christ. Now, every natural man doth the devil's drudgery, 
and carries the devil's pack ; and howsoever he saith he defieth 
the devil, yet he sins, and so doth his work. Satan hath over- 
come and conquered all men in Adam, and therefore they are 
under his bondage and dominion. And though he can not compel 
a man to sin against his will, yet he hath power, — 

First. To present and allure man's heart by a sinful temp- 

Secondly. To follow him with it, if at first he be something 
shy of it. 

Thirdly. To disquiet and rack him, if he will not yield, as 
might be made to appear in many instances. 

Fourthly. Besides, he knows men's humors, as poor wander- 
ing, beggarly gentlemen do their friends in necessity, (yet in 
seeming courtesy,) he visits and applies himself unto them, and 
so gains them as his own. O, he is in a fearful slavery who is 
under Satan's dominion, who is, — 

1. A secret enemy to thee. 

2. A deceitful enemy to thee, that will make a man believe (as 
he did Evah, even in her integrity) that he is in a fair way, 
when his condition is miserable. 

3. He is a cruel enemy or lord over them that be his slaves, 
(2 Cor. iv. 3 ;) he gags them so that they can not speak, (as that 
man that had a dumb devil,) neither for God, nor to God, in prayer ; 
he starves them, so as no sermon shall ever do them good ; he 
robs them of all they get in God's ordinances, within three hours 
after the market, the sermon is ended. 

4. He is a strong enemy. (Luke xi. 21.) So that if all the devils 
in hell are able to keep men from coming out of their sins, he 
will : so strong an enemy, that he keeps men from so much as 
sighing or groaning under their burdens and bondage. (Luke xi. 
21.) When the strong man keeps the palace, his goods are in 

Fifthly. He is cast into utter darkness ; as cruel jailers put their 
prisoners into the worst dungeons, so Satan doth natural men, 
(2 Cor. iv. 3, 4;) they see no God, no Christ ; they see not the 
happiness of the saints in light ; they see not those dreadful tor- 
ments that should now in this day of grace awaken them and 
humble them. O, those by-paths which thousands wander from 
God in, they have no lamp to their feet to show them where they 
err. Thou that art in thy natural estate, art born blind, and 
the devil hath blinded thine eyes more by sin, and God in justice 
had blinded them worse for sin, so that thou art in a corner of 


hell, because thou art in utter darkness, where thou hast not a 
gUmpse of any saving truth. 

Sixthly. They are bound hand and foot in this estate, and 
can not come out, (Ronx. v. G ; 1 Cor. ii. 14 ;) for all kind of sins, 
like chains, have bound every part and faculty of man, so that 
he is sure for stirring ; and those are very strong in him, they 
being as dear as his members, nay, as his life, (Col. iii. 7 ;) so 
that when a man begins to forsake his vile courses, and pur- 
poseth to become a new man, devils fetch him back, ♦ world 
enticeth him, and locketh him up ; and flesh saith, O, it is too 
strict a course ; farewell, then, merry days and good fellowship. 
O, thou mayest wish and desire to come out some time, but canst 
not put strength to thy desire, nor endure to do it. Thou 
mayest hang down thy head like a bulrush for sin, but thou 
canst not rej^ent of sin; thou mayest presume,, but thou canst 
not believe ; thou mayest come half way, and forsake some sins, 
but not all sins ; thou mayest come and knock at heaven's gate, 
as the foolish virgins did, but not enter in and pass through 
the gate ; thou mayest see the land of Canaan, and take much 
pain to go into Canaan, and mayest taste of the bunches of 
grapes of that good land, but never enter into Canaan, into 
heaven, but thou lie bound, hand and foot, in this woful estate, 
and here thou must lie and rot like a dead carcass in his grave, 
until the Lord come and roll away the stone, and bid thee come 
out and live. 

Lastly. They are ready every moment to drop into hell. 
God is a consuming fire against thee, and there is but one paper 
wall of thy body between thy soul and eternal flames. How 
soon may God stop thy breath! There is nothing but that be- 
tween thee and hell ; if that were gone, then farewell all. 
Thou art condemned, and the muflfler is before thine eyes. God 
knows how soon the ladder may be turned ; thou hangest but by 
one rotten twined thread of thy life, over the flames of hell 
every hour. 

Thus much of man's present miseries. 

Now followeth his future miseries, which are to come upon 
him hereafter. 

I. They must die either by a sudden, sullen, or desperate death, 
(Ps. Ixxxix. 48,) which though it is to a child of God a sweet 
sleep, yet to the wicked it is a fearful curse proceeding from 
God's wrath, whence, like a lion, he tears body and soul asunder ; 
death cometh hissing upon him like a fiery dragon with the sting 
of vengeance in the mouth of it ; it puts a period to all their 
worldly contentments, which then they must forsake, and carry 


nothing away with them but a rotten winding sheet. It is the 
beginning of all their woe ; it is the captain tliat tirst strikes the 
stroke, and then armies of endless woes follow after. (Rev. 
vi. 2.) O, thou hadst better be a toad, or a dog, than a man, for 
there's an end of their troubles when they are dead and gone ; 
they fall not as men from a steep hill, not knowing where they 
shall fall : now repentance is too late, especially if thou hadst 
lived under means before ; it is either cold repentance, when the 
body is weak, and the heart is sick, or a hypocritical repentance, 
only for fear of hell ; and therefore thou sayest, " Lord Jesus, 
receive my soul." Nay, commonly then, men's hearts are most 
hard, and therefore men die like lambs, and cry not out ; - 
then it is hard plucking thy soul from the devil's hands, to whom 
thou hast given it all thy life by sin ; and if thou dost get it 
back, dost thou think that God will take the devil's leavings ? 
Now thy day is past, and darkness begins to overspread thy soul ; 
now flocks of devils come into thy chamber, waiting for thy soul, 
to fly upon it as a mastiff dog when the door is opened. And 
this is the reason why most men die quietly that lived wickedly, 
because Satan then hath them as his own prey; like pirates, 
who let a ship pass that is empty of goods, they shoot commonly at 
them that are richly loaden. The Christians, in some parts of the 
primitive church, took the sacrament every day, because they 
did look to die every day. But these times wherein we live are 
so poisoned and glutted with their ease, that it is a rare thing to 
see the man that looks death steadfastly in the face one hour to- 
gether : but death will lay a bitter stroke on these one day. 

II. After death they appear before the Lord to judgment, 
(Heb. ix. 27 ;) their bodies indeed rot in their graves, but their 
souls return before the Lord to judgment. (Eccles. xii. 7.) The 
general judgment is at the end of the world, when both body 
and soul appear before God, and all the world to an account. 
But there is a particular judgment that every man meets with 
after this life, immediately at the end of his life, where the soul 
is condemned only before the Lord. j 

You may perceive what this particular judgment is, thus, by 1 
these four conclusions : — 

1. That every man should die the first day he was born, is 
clear; for "the wages of sin is death ;" in justice, therefore, it 
should be paid of a sinful creature as soon as he is born. 

2. That it should be thus with wicked men, but that Christ 
begs their lives for a season. (1 Tim. iv.) He is the Saviour of 
all men ; that is, not a Saviour of eternal preservation out of hell, 
but a Saviour of temporal reservation from dropping into hell. 


3. That this space of time, thus begged by Christ, is that 
season wherein only a man can make his peace with a displeased 
God. (2 Cor. vi. 2. ) 

4. That if men do not thus within this cut of time, when death 
hath despatched them, judgment only remains for them ; that is, 
then their doom is read, their date of repentance is out, then 
their sentence of everlasting death is passed upon them, that 
never can be recalled again. And this is judgment after death. 
"He that judgeth himself," saith the apostle, (1 Cor. xi. 31,) 
<' shall not be judged of the Lord." Now, wicked men will not 
judge and condemn themselves in this life; therefore, at the end of 
it, God will judge them. All natural men are lost in this life, but 
they may be found and recovered again ; but a man's loss by 
death is irrecoverable, because there is no means after death to 
restore them, there is no friend to persuade, no minister to 
preach, by which faith is wrought, and men get into Christ ; 
there is no power of returning or repenting then ; for night is 
come, and the day is past. 

Again : the punishment is so heavy that they can only bear 
wrath, so that all their thoughts and affections are taken up with 
the burden. And, therefore. Dives cries out, " I am tormented." 
O that the consideration of this point might awaken every secure 
sinner ! What will become of thine immortal soul when thou 
art dead ? Thou sayest, I know not ; I hope well, I tell thee, 
therefore, that which may send thee mourning to thy house, and 
quaking to thy grave, if thou diest in this estate, thou shalt not die 
like a dog, nor yet like a toad ; but after death comes judgment ; 
then farewell friends when dying ; and farewell God forever, 
when thou art dead. 

Now, the Lord open your eyes to see the terrors of this par- 
ticular judgment; which if you could see, (unless you were mad,) 
it would make you spend whole nights and days in seeking to set 
all even with God. 

I will show you briefly the manner and nature of it in these 

1. Thy soul shall be dragged out of thy body, as out of a 
foul prison, by the devil, the jailer, into some place within the 
bowels of the third heavens, and there thou shalt stand stripped 
of all friends, all comfort, all creatures before the presence of 
God, (Luke ix. 27 ;) as at the assizes, first the jailer brings the 
prisoners out, 

2. Then thy soul shall have a new light put into it, whereby 
it shall see the glorious presence of God, as prisoners brought 
with guilty eyes look with terror upon the judge. Now thou 

VOL. I. 4 


seest no God abroad in the world, but then thou shalt see the 
Almighty Jehovah, which sight shall strike thee with that hellish 
terror and dreadful horror, that thou shalt call to the mountains 
to cover thee — " O rocks, rocks, hide me from the face of the 
Lamb." (Rev. vi. ult.) 

3. Then all the sins that ever thou hast or shalt commit shall 
come fresh to thy mind ; as when the prisoner is come before the 
face of the judge, then his accusers bring in their evidence ; thy 
sleepy conscience then will be instead of a thousand witnesses, 
and every sin then, with all the circumstances of it, shall be set in 
order, armed with God's wrath round about thee. (Ps. 1. 21.) As 
letters writ with juice of oranges can not be read until it be 
brought unto the fire, and then they appear, so thou can not read 
that bloody bill of indictment thy conscience hath against thee 
now ; but when thou shalt stand near unto God, a consuming 
fire, then what a heavy reckoning will appear ! It may be thou 
hast left many sins now, and goest so far, and profitest so much, 
that no Christian can discern thee ; nay, thou thinkest thyself in 
a safe estate ; but yet there is one leak in thy ship that will sink 
thee ; there is one secret, hidden sin in thine heart, which thon 
livest in, as all unsound people do, that will damn thee. I tell 
thee, as soon as ever thou art dead and gone, then thou shalt see 
where the knot did bind thee, where thy sin was that now hath 
spoiled thee forever, and then thou shalt grow mad to think — O 
that I never saw this sin I loved, lived in, plotted, perfected mine 
own eternal ruin by, until now, when it is too late to amend ! 

4. Then the Lord shall take his everlasting farewell of thee, 
and make thee know it too. Now God is departed from thee in 
this life, but he may return in mercy to thee again ; but when 
the Lord departs with all his patience, to wait for thee no more, 
nor shall Christ be offered thee any more, no Spirit to strive with 
thee any more, and so shall pass sentence, though haply not 
vocally, yet effectually upon thy soul, the Lord saying, " Depart, 
thou cursed," thou shalt see indeed the glory of God that 
others find, but to thy greater sorrow shalt never taste the same. 
(Luke xiii. 28.) 

5. Then shall God surrender up thy forsaken soul into the 
hands of devils, who, being thy jailers, must keep thee till the 
great day of account ; so that as thy friends are scrambling for 
thy goods, and worms for thy body, so devils shall scramble for 
thy soul. For as soon as ever a wicked man is dead, he is 
either in heaven or in hell. Not in heaven, for no unclean thing 
comes there. If in hell, then amongst devils there shall be thine 
eternal lodging, (1 Pet. iii. 19 ;) and hence thy forlorn soul shall 


lie mourning for the time past, now it is too late to recall again ; 
groaning under the intolerable torments of the wrath of God 
present, and amazed at the eternity of misery and sorrow that is 
to come ; waiting for that fearful hour when the last trump shall 
blow, and then body and soul meet to bear that wrath, that fire 
that shall never go out. O, therefore, suspect and fear the worst 
of thyself now ; thou hast seldom or never, or very little, troubled 
thy head about this matter, whether Christ will save thee or not, 
thou hast such strong hopes and confidence already that he will. 
Know that it is possible thou mayest be deceived ; and if so, 
when thou shalt know thy doom after death, thou canst not get 
an hour more to make thy peace with God, although thou 
shouldest weep tears of blood. If either the muffler of ignorance 
shall be before thine eyes, — like a handkerchief about the face 
of one condemned, — or if thou art pinioned with any lust, or if 
thou makest thine own pardon, proclaimest (because thou art 
sorry a little for thy sins, and resolvest never to do the like 
again) peace to thy soul, thou art one that after death shalt ap- 
pear before the Lord to judgment. Thou that art thus condemned 
now, dying so, shalt come to thy fearful judgment after death. 

There shall be a general judgment of soul and body at the 
end of the world, wherein they shall be arraigned and condemned 
before the great tribunal seat of Jesus Christ. (Jude 14, 15. 2 
Cor. V. 10.) The hearing of judgment to come made Felix to 
tremble ; nothing of more efficacy to awaken a secure sinner 
than sad thoughts of this fiery day. 

But thou wilt ask me how it may be proved that there will 
be such a day. 

I answer, God's justice calls for it. This world is the stage 
where God's patience and bounty act their parts, and hence every 
man will profess and conceive, because he feels it, that God is mer- 
ciful. But God's justice is questioned ; men think God to be all 
mercy, and no justice ; all honey, and no sting. Now, the wicked 
prosper in all their ways, are never punished, but live and die 
in peace ; whereas the godly are daily afflicted and reviled. 
Therefore, because this attribute suffers a total eclipse almost, 
now, there must come a day wherein it must shine out before all 
the world in the glory of it. (Rom. ii. 5.) 

The second reason is from the glory of Christ. He was 
accused, arraigned, condemned by men ; therefore he shall be 
the Judge of them. (John v. 27.) For this is an ordinary piece 
God's providence towards his people ; the same evil he casts 
them into now, he exalts them into the contrary good in his time. 
As the Lord hath a purpose to make Joseph ruler over all 


Egypt, but first he maketh liim u slave, God had a meaning to 
make Christ Judge of men, therefore first he suffers him to be 
judged of men. 

Quest. But when shall this judgment day be ? 

Ans. Though we can not tell the day and hour particularly, yet 
this we are sure of, that when all the elect are called, for whose 
sake the world stands^ (Is. i. 9,) when these pillars are taken 
away, then woe to the world ; as when Lot was taken out of 
Sodom, then Sodom was burnt. Now, it is not probable that this 
time will come as yet ; for first Antichrist must be consumed, and 
not only the scattered visible Jews, but the whole body of the 
Israelites, must first be called, and have a glorious church upon 
earth. (Ezek. xxxvii.) This glorious church Scripture and reason 
will enforce, which when it is called shall not be expired as soon 
as it is born, but shall continue many a. year. 

Quest. But how shall this judgment be ? 

Ans. The apostle describes it. (1 Thess. iv. 16, 17.) 

1. Christ shall break out of the third heaven, and be seen in 
the air, before any dead arise j and this shall be with an admira- 
ble shout, as when a king cometh to triumph among his subjects, 
and over his enemies. 

2. Then shall the voice of the archangel be heard. Now, 
this archangel is Jesus Christ himself, as the Scripture expounds, 
being in the clouds of heaven ; he shall, with an audible, heaven- 
shaking shout, say, " Rise, you dead, and come to judgment ! '* 
even as he called to Lazarus, " Lazarus, arise ! " 

3. Then the trump shall blow ; and even as at the giving of 
the law (Ex. xix.) it is said the trumpet sounded, much more 
louder shall it now sound, when he comes to judge men that have 
broken the law. 

4. Then shall the dead arise. The bodies of them that have 
died in the Lord shall rise first ; then the others that live shall 
(like Enoch) be translated and changed. (1 Cor. xv.) 

5. When thus the judge and justices are upon their bench at 
Christ's right hand, on their thrones, then shall the guiUy pris- 
oners be brought forth, and come out of their graves, like filthy 
toads, against this terrible storm. Then shall all the wicked, that 
ever were or ever shall be, stand quaking before this glorious 
Judge, with the same bodies, feet, hands, to receive their doom. 

0, consider of this day, thou that livest in thy sins now, and 
yet art safe ; there is a day coming wherein thou mayest and 
shalt be judged. 

1. Consider who shall be thy Judge. Why, mercy, pity, good- 
ness itself, even Jesus Christ, that many times held out his 


bowels of compassion toward thee. A child of God may say, 
Yonder is my brother, friend, husband ; but thou mayest say, 
Yonder is mine enemy. He may say at that day, Yonder is he 
that shed his blood to save me ; thou mayest say. Yonder he 
comes whose heart I have pierced with my sins, whose blood I 
have desjDised. They may say, " O, come. Lord Jesus, and cover 
me under thy wings." But thou shalt then cry out, " O rocks, 
fall upon me, and hide me from the fsice of the Lamb." 

2. Consider the manner of his coming. (2 Thess. i. 7.) He 
shall come in flaming fire — the heavens shall be on a flame — 
the elements shall melt like scalding lead upon thee. When a 
house is on fire at midnight in a town, what a fearful cry is 
there made ! When all the world shall cry, Fire ! fire ! and run 
up and down for shelter to hide themselves, but can not find it, 
but say, O, now the gloomy day of blood and fire is come ; 
here's for my pride, here's for my oaths, and the wages for my 
drunkenness, security, and neglect of duties. 

3. In regard of the heavy accusations that shall come against 
thee at that day. There is never a wicked man almost in the 
world, as fair a face as he carries, but he hath, at some time or 
other, committed some such secret villainy, that he would be 
ready to hang himself for shame if others did know of it ; as 
secret whoredom, self-pollution, speculative wantonness, men 
with men, women with women, as the apostle speaks. (Rom. i.) 
At this day all the world shall see and hear these privy pranks, 
then the books shall be opened. Men will not take up a foul 
business, nor end it in private ; therefore there shall be a day of 
public hearing ; things shall not be suddenly shuffled up, as car- 
nal thoughts imagine, viz., that at this day, first Christ shall 
raise the dead, and then the separation shall be made, and then 
the sentence passed, and then suddenly the judgment day is done. 
No, no ; it must take up some large quantity of time, that all the 
Avorld may see the secret sins of wicked men in the world ; and 
therefore it may be made evident from all Scripture and reason, 
that this day of Christ's kingly office in judging the world will 
last happily longer than his private administration now (wherein 
he is less glorious) in governing the world. Tremble, thou time 
server ; tremble, thou hypocrite ; tremble, thou that livest in any 
secret sin under the all-seeing eye of this Judge ; thine own con- 
science indeed shall be a sufficient witness against thee, to dis- 
cover all thy sins at thy particular judgment ; but all the world 
shall openly see thine hidden, close courses of darkness, to thine 
everlasting shame at this day. 

4. In regard of the fearful sentence that th^n shall be passed 


upon tliee : " Depart, thou cursed creature, into everlasting fire, 
prepared for the devil and his angels." Thou shalt then cry- 
out, " O, mercy, Lord ! O, a little mercy ! " " No," will the 
Lord Jesus say, "I did indeed once oifer it you, but you refused; 
therefore depart." Then thou shalt plead again, " Lord, if I 
must depart, yet bless me before I go." " No, no ; depart, thou 
cursed." " O, but, Lord, if I must depart cursed, let me go into 
some good place." "No ; depart, thou cursed, into hell fire." "O 
Lord, that's a torment I can not bear ; but if it must be so. Lord, 
let me come out again quickly." " No ; depart, thou cursed, 
into everlasting fire." "O Lord, if this be thy pleasure, that 
here I must abide, let me have good company with me." " No ; 
depart, thou cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil 
and his angels." This shall be thy sentence ; the hearing of 
which may make the rocks to rent ; "so that, go on in thy sin and 
prosper, despise and scoif at God's ministers and prosper, abhor 
the power and practice of religion, as a too precise course, and 
prosper ; yet know it, there will a day come when thou shalt meet 
with a dreadful Judge, a doleful sentence. Now is thy day of 
sinning ; but God will have shortly his day of condemning. 

5. When the judgment day is done, then the fearful wrath of 
God shall be poured out, and piled upon their bodies and souls, 
and the breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, shall 
kindle it, and here thou shalt lie burning, and none shall ever 
quench it. This is the execution of a sinner after judgment. 
(Rev. xxi. 8.) 

Now, this wrath of God consists in these things : — 

1. Thy soul shall be banished from the face and blessed sweet 
presence of God and Christ, and thou shalt never see the face 
of God more. It is said (Acts xx.) that " they wept sore, be- 
cause they should see Paul's face no more." O, thou shalt 
never see the face of God, Christ, saints, and angels more. O, 
heavy doom, to famish and pine away forever without one bit 
of bread to comfort thee, one smile of God to refresh thee ! 
Men that have their sores running upon them must be shut up 
from the preseiice of men sound and whole. O, thy sins, like 
plague sores, run on thee ; therefore thou must be shut out like a 
dog from the presence of God and all his people. (2 Thess. i. 9.) 

2. God shall set himself like a consuming infinite fire against 
thee, and tread thee under his feet, who hast by sin trod him and 
his glory under foot all thy life. A man may devise exquisite 
torments for another, and great power may make a little stick to 
lay on heavy strokes ; but great power stirred up to strike from 
great fury and wrath makes the stroke deadly. I tell thee, all 


the wisdom of God shall then be set against thee to devise tor- 
ments for thee. (Micah ii. 4.) There was never such wrath felt 
or conceived as the Lord hath devised against thee that livest 
and diest in thy natural estate ; hence it is called " wrath to come." 
(1 Thess. i. ult.) The torment which wisdom shall devise the 
almighty power of God shall inflict upon thee, so as there was 
never such power seen in making the world as in holding a poor 
creature under this wrath, that holds up the soul in being with 
one hand, and beats it with the other, ever burning like fire 
against a creature, and yet that creature never burnt up. (Rom. 
ix. 22.) Think not this cruelty ; it is justice. What cares God 
for a vile wretch, whom nothing can make good while it lives ? 
If we have been long in hewing a block, and we can make no 
meet vessel of it, put it to no good use for ourselves, we cast it 
into the fire. God heweth thee by sermons, sickness, losses, and 
crosses, sudden death, mercies, and miseries ; yet nothing makes 
thee better. What should God do with thee but cast thee 
hence ? O, consider of this wrath before you feel it. I had 
rather have all the world burning about my ears than to have 
one blasting frown from the blessed face of an infinite and 
dreadful God. Thou canst not endure the torments of a little 
kitchen fire on the tip of thy finger, not one half hour together. 
How wilt thou bear the fury of this infinite, endless, consuming 
fire in body and soul throughout all eternity ? 

3. The never-dying worm of a guilty conscience shall torment 
thee, as if thou hadst swallowed down a living poisonful snake, 
which shall lie gnawing and biting thine heart for sin past, day 
and night. And this worm shall torment by showing the cause 
of thy misery ; that is, that thou didst never care for Him that 
would have saved thee ; by showing thee also thy sins against 
the law, by showing thee thy sloth, whereby thy happiness is 
lost. Then shall thy conscience gnaw to think. So many nights 
I went to bed without prayer, and so many days and hours I 
spent in feasting and foolish sporting. O, if 1 had spent half 
that time, now misspent, in praying, in mourning, in meditation, 
yonder in heaven had I been. By showing thee also the means 
that thou once hadst to avoid this misery. Such a minister 
I heard once, that told me of my particular sins, as if he had 
been told of me ; such a friend persuaded me once to turn over 
a new leaf; I remember so many knocks God gave at this iron 
heart of mine, so many mercies the Lord sent ; but, O, no 
means could prevail with me. Lastly, by showing thee how 
easily thou mightest have avoided all these miseries. O, once 
I was almost persuaded to be a Christian ; but I suffered my 


heart to grow dead, and fell to loose company, and so lost all. 
The Lord Jesus came unto my door and knocked ; and, if I had 
done that for Christ which I did for the devil many a time to 
open at his knocks, I had been saved. A thousand such bites 
will this worm give at thine heart, which shall make thee cry 
out, O, time, time ! O, sermons, sermons ! O, my hopes and 
my helps are now lost that once I had to save my lost soul ! 

4. Thou shalt take up thy lodging forever with devils, and 
they shall be thy companions. Him thou hast served here, with 
him must thou dwell there. It scares men out of their wits 
almost to see the devil, as they think, when they be alone ; but 
what horror shall fill thy soul when thou shalt be banished from 
angels' society, and come into the fellowship of devils forever ! 

o. Thou shalt be tilled with final despair. If a man be griev- 
ously sick, it comforts him to think it will not last long. But if 
the physician tell him he must live all his lifetime in this ex- 
tremity, he thinks the poorest beggar in a better estate than 
himself. O, to think, when thou hast been millions of years in 
thy sorrows, then thou art no nearer thy end of bearing thy 
misery than at the first coming in ! O, I might once have had 
mercy and Christ, but no hope now ever to have one glimpse of 
his face, or one good look from him any more. 

C. Thou shalt vomit out blasphemous oaths and curses in the 
face of God the Father forever, and curse God that never 
elected thee, and curse the Lord Jesus that never shed one drop 
of blood to redeem thee, and curse God the Holy Ghost that 
passed by thee and never called thee. (Rev. xvi. 9.) And here 
thou shalt lie, and weep, and gnash thy teeth in spite against 
God and thyself, and roar, and stamp, and grow mad, that there 
thou must lie under the curse of God forever. Thus, I say, 
thou shalt lie blaspheming, with God's wrath like a pile of fire 
on thy soul burning, and floods, nay, seas, nay, more, seas of 
tears, (for thou shalt forever lie weeping,) shall never quench it. 
And here, which way soever thou lookest, thou shalt see matter 
of everlasting grief. Look up to heaven, and there thou shalt 
see (O !) that God is forever gone. Look about thee, thou shalt 
see devils quaking, cursing God, and thousands, nay, millions, of 
sinful, damned creatures crying and roaring out with doleful 
shriekings, O, the day that ever I was born ! Look within 
thee ; there is a guilty conscience gnawing. Look to time past ; 
O, those golden days of grace and sweet seasons of mercy are 
quite lost and gone ! Look to time to come ; there thou shalt 
behold evils, troops and swarms of sorrows, and woes, and 
raging waves, and billows of wrath come roaring upon thee. 


Look to time jDresent ; O, not one hour or raoment of ease or 
refreshing, but all curses meet together, and feeding upon one 
poor lost immortal soul that never can be recovered again ! No 
God, no Christ, no Spirit to comfort thee, no minister to preach 
unto thee, no friend to wipe away thy continual tears, no sun to 
shine upon thee, not a bit of bread, not one drop of water to 
cool thy tongue. 

This is the misery of every natural man. Now, do not thou 
shift it from thyself, and say, God is merciful. True, but it is 
to very few, as shall be proved. It is a thousand to one if ever 
thou be one of that small number whom God hath picked out to 
escape this wrath to come. If thou dost not get the Lord Jesus 
to bear this wrath, farewell God, Christ, and God's mercy for- 
ever. If Christ had shed seas of blood, set thine heart at rest; 
there is not one drop of it for thee, until thou comest to see, and 
feel, and groan under this miserable estate. I tell thee, Christ 
is so far from saving thee, that he is thine enemy. If Christ 
were here, and should say. Here is my blood for thee, if thou wilt 
but lie down and mourn under the burden of thy misery, and yet 
for all his speeches, thy dry eyes weep not, thy stout heart yields 
not, thy hard heart mourns not, as to say, O, I am a sinful, lost, 
condemned, cursed, dead creature ; what shall I do ? dost not 
think but he would turn away his face from thee, and say, O, 
thou stony, hard-hearted creature,wouldest thou have me save thee 
from thy misery, and yet thou wilt not groan, sigh, and mourn 
for deliverance to me, out of thy misery ? If thou likest thine 
estate so well, and prizest me so little, perish in thy misery 

O, labor to be humbled day and night under this thy woful 
estate. Thou art guilty of Adam's grievous sin : will this break 
thine heart ? No. Thou art dead in sin, and top-full of all sin : 
will this break thine heart ? No. Whatsoever thou doest, hast 
done, shalt do, remaining in this estate, is sin : will this break 
thine heart ? No. God is thine enemy, and thou hast lost him : 
will this break thine heart ? No. Thou art condemned to die 
eternally ; Satan is thy jailer ; thou art bound hand and foot in 
the bolts of thy sins, and cast into utter darkness, and ready 
every moment to drop into hell : will this break thine heart ? No. 
Thou must die, and after that appear before the Lord to judgment, 
and then bear God's everlasting, insupportable wrath, which rends 
the rocks, and burns down to the bottom of hell. Will this break 
thine hard heart, man ? No. Then farewell Christ forever ; 
never look to see a Christ, until thou dost come to feel thy misery 
out of Christ. Labor therefore for this, and the Lord will reveal 


the brazen serpent, when thou art in thine own sense and feeling, 
stung to death with the fiery serpents. 

So I come to open the fourth principal point. 



" In whom we have redemption through his blood," (Eph. i. 
7,) which plainly demonstrates that 

"Jesus Christ is the only means of man's redemption and 
deliverance out of his bondage and miserable estate." 

And this is the doctrine I shall now insist upon. 

"When the Israelites were in bondage and misery, he sends 
Moses to deliver them. When they were in Babylon, he stirred 
up Cyrus to open the prison gates to them ; but when all man- 
kind is under spiritual misery, he sends the Lord Jesus, God and 
man, to redeem him. (Acts iv. 12.) 

Question. How doth Christ redeem men out of this misery ? 

Answer. By paying a price for them. (1 Cor. vi. ult.) God's 
mercy will be manifested in saving some, and his justice must be 
satisfied by having satisfaction or price made and paid for man's 
sin. Hence Christ satisfieth God's justice, — 

First. By standing in the room of all them whom mercy 
decreeth to save. A surety standeth in the room of a debtor. 
(Heb. vii. 22.) As the first Adam stood in the room of all 
mankind fallen, so Christ standeth in the room of all men rising, 
or to be restored again. 

Secondly. By taking from them in whose room he stood the 
eternal guilt of all their sins, and by assuming the guilt of all 
those sins unto himself. (2 Cor. v. 22.) Hence Luther said 
Christ was the greatest sinner by imputation. 

Thirdly. By bearing the curse and wrath of God kindled 
against sin. God is holy, and when he seeth sin sticking only 
by imputation to his own Son, he will not spare him, but his 
w^rath and curse must he bear. (Gal. iii. 13.) Christ drinks up 
the cup of all the elect at one draught, which they should have 
been sipping and drinking, and tormented with, millions of years. 

Fourthly. By bringing into the presence of God perfect 
righteousness, (Rom. v. 21 ;) for this also God's justice required 
perfection, conformity to the law, as w^ell as (perfect satisfaction) 
suflfering for the wrong offered to the Lawgiver. Justice thus 


requiring these four things, Christ satisfies justice by performing 
them, and so pays the price. 

1. Christ is a Redeemer by strong hand. The first redemption 
by price is finished in Christ's person, at his resurrection ; the 
second is begun by the Spirit in man's vocation, and ended at the 
day of judgment; as money is first paid for a captive in Turkey, 
and then because he can not come to his own prince himself, he 
is fetched away by strong hand. 

Here is encouragement to the vilest sinner, and comfort to the 
self-succorless and lost sinner, who have spent all their money, 
their time, and endeavors upon those duties and strivings that 
have been but poor physicians to them. 0, look up here to the 
Lord Jesus, who can do that cure for thee in a moment which all 
creatures can not do in many years. What bolts, what strong 
fetters, what unruly lusts, temptations, and miseries art thou 
locked into ? Behold, the Deliverer is come out of Sion, having 
satisfied justice, and paid a price to ransom poor captives, (Luke 
iv. 18 ;) with the keys of heaven, hell, and thy unruly heart in 
his hand, to fetch thee out with great mercy and strong hand. 
AYho knows but thou poor prisoner of hell, thou poor captive of 
the devil, thou poor shackled sinner, mayest be one whom he is 
come for ? O, look up to him, sigh to heaven for deliverance 
from him, and be glad and rejoice at his coming ! 

This strikes terror to them, that though there is a means of 
deliverance, yet they lie in their misery, never groan, never sigh 
j to the Lord Jesus for deliverance ; nay, that rejoice in their bond- 
! age, and dance to hell in their bolts ; nay, that are weary of deliver- 
ance ; that sit in the stocks when they are at prayers ; that come 
i out of the church, when the tedious sermon runs somewhat beyond 
) the hour, like prisoners out of a jail, that despise the Lord Jesus, 
' when he offers to open the doors, and so let them out of that 
miserable estate. O, poor creatures ! is there a means of deliver- 
ance, and dost thou neglect, nay, despise it ? Know it, that this 
will cut thine heart one day, when thou art hanging in thy gibbets 
in hell, to see others standing at God's right hand, redeemed by 
Christ : thou mightest have had share in their honor ; for there 
was a Deliverer come to save thee, but thou wouldest have none 
of him. O, thou wilt lie yelling in those everlasting burnings, 
and tear thy hair, and curse thyself: From hence might I have 
been delivered, but I would not. Hath Christ delivered thee 
from hell, and hath he not delivered thee from thine alehouse ? 
I Hath Christ delivered thee from Satan's society, when he hath not 
delivered thee from thy loose company yet ? Hath Christ delivered 
thee from burning, when thy fagots, thy sins, grow in thee ? Is 
Christ's blood thine, that makest no more account of it, nor 


feelest no more virtue from it, than in the blood of a chicken ? 
Art thou redeemed ? Dost thou hope by Christ to be saved, that 
didst never see, nor feel, nor sigh under thy bondage ? O, the 
devils will keep holiday (as it were) in hell, in respect of thee, 
who shalt mourn under God's wrath, and lament. O, there was 
a means to deliver us out of it, but thou shalt mourn forever for 
thy misery. And this will be a bodkin at thine heart one day, 
to think there was a Deliverer, but I, wretch, would none of him. 
Here, likewise, is matter of reproof to such as seek to come out 
of this misery from and by themselves. If they be ignorant, 
they hope to be saved by their good meaning and prayei's. If 
civil, by paying all they owe, and doing as they would be done 
by, and by doing nobody any harm. If they be troubled about 
their estates, then they lick themselves whole by their mourning, 
repenting, and reforming. 0, poor stubble, canst thou stand 
before this consuming fire without sin ? Canst thou make thy- 
self a Christ for thyself? Canst thou bear and come from under 
an infinite wrath ? Canst thou bring in perfect righteousness into 
the presence of God ? This Christ must do, else he could not 
satisfy and redeem. And if thou canst not do thus, and hast no 
Christ, desire and pray that heaven and earth shake till thou 
hast worn thy tongue to the stumps ; endeavor as much as thou 
canst, and others commend thee for a diligent Christian ; mourn 
in some wilderness till doomsday ; dig thy grave there with thy 
nails ; weep buckets full of hourly tears, till thou canst weep no 
more ; fast and pray till thy skin and bones cleave together ; 
promise and purpose with full resolution to be. better; nay, 
reform thy head, heart, life, and tongue, and some, nay, all sins ; 
live like an angel ; shine like a sun ; walk up and down the world 
like a distressed pilgrim going to another country, so that all 
Christians commend and admire thee ; die ten thousand deaths ; 
lie at the fireback in hell so many millions of years as there be 
piles of grass on the earth, or sands upon the sea shore, or stars 
in heaven, or motes in the sun ; I tell thee, not one spark of 
God's wrath against thy sin shall be, can be, quenched by all 
these duties, nor by any of these sorrows, or tears ; for these are 
not the blood of Christ. Nay, if all the angels and saints in | 
heaven and earth should pray for thee, these can not deliver thee, 1 
for they are not the blood of Christ. Nay, God, as a Creator, 
having made a law, will not forgive one sin without the blood of 
Christ ; nay, Christ's blood will not do it neither, if thou dost 
join never so little that thou hast or dost unto Jesus Christ, and 
makest thyself or any of thy duties copartners with Christ in 
that great work of saving thee. Cry out, therefore, as that 
blessed martyr did, None but Christ, none but Christ. 


Take heed of neglecting or rejecting so great salvation by 
Jesus Christ. Take heed of spilling this potion, that only can 
cure thee. 

But thou wilt say, This means of redemption is only appointed 
for some : it is not intended for all, therefore not for me ; there- 
fore how can I reject Christ ? 

It is true, Christ spent not his breath to pray for all ; (John 
xvii. 9,) " I pray for them ; I pray not for the world, but for them 
which thou hast given me, for they are thine ;" much less his 
blood for all ; therefore he was never intended as a Redeemer 
of all ; but that he is not intended as a Deliverer of thee, how 
doth this follow ? How dost thou know this ? 

But secondly, I say, though Christ be not intended for all, 
yet he is offered unto all, and therefore unto thee ; and the 
ground is this chiefly: — 

The universal offer of Christ ariseth not from Christ's priestly 
office immediately, but from his kingly office, whereby the Father 
having given him all power and dominion in heaven and earth, 
he hereupon commands all men to stoop unto him, and likewise 
bids all his disciples, and all their successors, to go and preach 
the gospel to every creature under heaven. (Matt, xxviii. 18, 19.) 
For Christ doth not immediately offer himself to all men as a 
Saviour, whereby they may be encouraged to serve him as a 
king ; but first as a king commanding them to cast away their 
weapons, and stoop unto his scepter, and depend upon his free 
mercy, acknowledging, if ever he save me, I will bless him ; if 
he damn me, his name is righteous in so dealing with me. 

But that I may fasten this exhortation, I will show these four 
things : — 

I. The Lord Jesus is offered to every particular person ; 
which I shall show thus : What hast thou to say against it, that 
thou dost doubt of it ? It may be thou Avilt plead, — 

O, I am so ignorant of myself, God, Christ, or his will, that 
surely the Lord offers no Christ to me. 

Yes, but he doth, though thou liest in utter darkness. Our 
blessed Saviour glorified his Father for revealing the mystery of 
the gospel to simple men, neglecting those that carried the chief 
reputation of wisdom in the world. The parts of none are so 
low as that they are beneath the gracious regard of Christ. God 
bestoweth the best fruits of his love upon mean and weak per- 
sons here, that he might confound the pride of flesh the more. 
"Where it pleaseth him to make his choice, and to exalt his mer- 
cy, he passeth by no degree of wit, though never so uncapable. 

But thou wilt say, I am an enemy to God, and have a heart 

VOL. I. 5 


SO stubborn and loth to yield, I have vexed him to the very 
heart by my transgressions. 

Yet he beseecheth thee to be reconciled. Put case, thou hast 
been a sinner, and rebellious against God ; yet so long as thou 
art not found amongst malicious opposers, and underminers of 
his truth, never give way to despairing thoughts; thou hast a 
merciful Saviour. 

But I have despised the means of reconciliation, and rejected 

Yet God calls thee to return : " thou hast played the harlot with 
many lovers ; yet turn again to me, saith the Lord." (Jer. iii. 1.) 
Cast thyself into the arms of Christ, and if thou perish, perish 
there ; if thou dost not, thou art sure to perish. If mercy be to 
be had any where, it is by seeking to Christ, not by turning from 
him. Herein appears Christ's love to thee, that he hath given 
thee a heart in some degree sensible ; he might haie given thee 
up to hardness, security, and profaneness — of all spiritual judg- 
ments the greatest. But he that died for his enemies will in no 
wise refuse those the desire of whose soul is toward him. 
"When the prodigal set himself to return to his father, his father 
stays not for him, but meets him in the way. If our sins dis- 
please us, they shall never hurt us ; but we shall be esteemed of 
God to be that which we desire and labor to be. (Ps. cxlv. 19.) 

But can the Lord offer Christ to me, so poor, that have no 
strength, no ftiith, no grace, nor sense of my poverty ? 

Yes, even to thee ; why should we except ourselves, when 
Christ doth not except us ? " Come unto me, all ye that are 
weary and heavy laden." We are therefore poor, because we 
know not our riches. We can never be in such a condition 
wherein there will be just cause of utter despair. He that sits 
in darkness, and seeth no light, no light of comfort, no light of 
God's countenance, yet let him trust in the name of the Lord. 
Weaknesses do not debar us from mercy ; nay, they incline God 
the more. The husband is bound to bear Avith the wife, as being 
the weaker vessel ; and shall we think God will exempt himself 
from his own rule, and not bear with his weak spouse ? 

But is this offer made to me, that can not love, prize, nor desire 
the Lord Jesus ? 

Yes ; to thee. Christ knows hoAv to pity us in this case. We 
are weak, but we are his. A father looks not so much at the 
blemishes of his child as at his own nature in him ; so Christ 
finds matter of love from any thing of his own in us. A Chris- 
tian's carriage toward Christ may in many things be very 
offensive, and cause much strangeness ; yet, so long as Le 


resolves not upon any known evil, Christ will own him, and he 

0, but I have fallen from God oft, since he hath enlightened 
me ; and doth he tender Christ to me ? 

Thou must know that Christ hath married every believing 
soul to himself, and that, where the work of grace is begun, sin 
loses strength by every new fall. If there be a spring of sin in 
thee, there is a spring of mercy in God, and a fountain daily 
opened to wash thy uncleanness in. Adam (indeed) lost all by 
once sinning ; but we are under a better covenant, — a covenant 
of mercy, — and are encouraged by the Son to go to the Father 
every day for the sins of that day. 

If I was willing to receive Christ, I might have Christ offered 
to me ; but will the Lord oflfer him to such a one as desires not 
to have Christ ? 

Yes ; saith our Saviour, " I would have gathered you as the 
hen gathereth her chickens under her wings, and you would 
not." We must know a creating power can not only bring 
something out of nothing, but contrary out of contrary ; of un- 
willing, God can make us a willing people. There is a promise 
of pouring clean water upon us, and Christ hath taken upon him 
to purge his spouse, and make her fit for himself. 

What hast thou now to plead against this strange kindness 
of the Lord in offering Christ to thee? Thou wilt say, it 
may be, — 

O, I fear time is past ! 0, time is past ! I might once have 
had Christ, but now mine heart is sealed dowm with hardness, 
blindness, unbelief. O, time is now gone ! 

No ; not so. See Isaiah Ixv. 1-3 : " All the day long God 
holdeth out his hands to a backsliding and rebellious people." 
Thy day of grace, thy day of means, thy day of life, thy day of 
God's striving with thee and stirring of thee, still lasts. 

But if God be so willing to save, and so prodigal of his Christ, 
why doth he not give me Christ, or draw me to Christ ? 

I answer, What command dost thou look for to draw thee to 
Christ but this word. Come ? O, come, thou poor, forlorn, lost, 
blind, cursed nothing ; I will save thee ; I will enrich thee ; 
I will forgive thee ; I will enlighten thee ; I will bless thee ; I 
will be all things unto thee, do all things for thee. May not 
this win and melt the heart of a devil ? 

II. Upon what condition may Christ be had ? 

Make an exchange of what thou art or hast with Christ for 
what Christ is or hath ; and so taking him, (like the wise mer- 
chant the pearl,) thou shalt have salvation with him. 


Now, this exchange lieth in these four things chiefly : — 

First. Give away thyself to him, head, heart, tongue, body, 
soul, and he will give aAvay himself unto thee, (Cant. vi. 3 ;) yea, 
he will stand in thy room in heaven, that thou mayest triumph 
and say, I am already in heaven, glorified in him ; I see God's 
blessed face in Christ ; I have conquered death, hell, and the 
devil in him. 

Secondly. Give away all thy sins to Christ, confess them, leave 
them, cast them upon the Lord Jesus, so as to receive power 
from him to forsake them, and he will be made sin for thee to 
take them away from thee. (1 John i. 9.) 

Thirdly. Give away thine honor, pleasure, profit, life, for him ; 
he will give away his crown and honor, life and all, to thee. 
(Luke xviii.) Let nothing be sweet unto thee but him, aij/i 
nothing shall be sweet unto him but thee. 

Fourthly. Give away thy rags, forsake thine own righteous- 
ness, for him ; he will give away all his robes and righteousness 
to thee. (Phil. iii. 8, 9.) Thou shalt stand as glorious in the 
sight of God, howsoever thou art a poor snake in thyself, as an 
angel, nay, as all the angels, because clothed with his Son Christ 
Jesus his righteousness. 

Now, tell me, will you have Christ ? He is offered to you. 
Yes, you will all say ; yea, with all mine heart. But will you 
have him upon these terms, upon these four conditions ? 

Now, because men will flatter themselves, and say. Yes, — 

III. I will show you four sorts of people that reject Christ 
thus offered. 

First. The slighting unbeliever, that, when he hears of an 
offer of Christ, and should wonder at the love of the Lord in 
doing this, he makes nothing of it, but goes from the church, and 
says, We must give ministers the wall in the pulpit, and, poor 
men, they must have somewhat to say and preach for their 
living ; there was a good plain sermon to-day ; the man seems 
to mean well, but I think he be no great scholar ; and so makes 
no more of the offer of Christ than of the offer of a straw at 
their feet. If a good bargain be offered them, they will forget 
all their business to accomplish that ; yet they make light of this 
offer. (Matt. xxii. 5.) 

Secondly. The desperate unbeliever, that, seeing his sins to 
be so great, and feeling his heart so hard, and finding but little 
good from God, since he sought for help, like Cain fleeth from 
the presence of the Lord ; like a mad lion he breaks his chains 
of restraining grace, and runneth roaring after his prey, after 
his cups, queans, lusts, etc., and so will not honor Christ with 


such a great cure of such great sins, that he shall never have 
the credit of it, nor will be beholding to him for such a kindness. 

Thirdly. The presumptuous unbeliever, that, seeing what sins 
he hath committed, and, it may be, having a little touch and 
some sorrow for his sins, catcheth at Christ, hoping to be saved 
by him before ever he come to be loaden with sin as the greatest 
evil, or God's wrath kindled against him as his greatest curse, 
and so, catching at Christ, hopes he hath Christ, and, hoping he* 
hath Christ already, shuts out Christ for the future, and so 
rejects him. (Micah iii. 11.) You shall have these men and 
women complain never of the want, but only of the weakness, 
of their faith, and they will not be beaten off from thence ; let 
them hear never so much of their misery, nor see never so much 
of their sin, yet they Avill not be beaten off from trusting to 

Fourthly. The tottering, doubtful unbeliever ; one that is in a 
question whether he had best have Christ or no. He sees some 
good in Christ that he would gladly have him for, as, Then I 
shall have heaven, and pardon, and grace, and peace ; and yet 
he sees many things he dislikes with Christ, as, namely. Then 
farewell merry meetings, pastimes, cards and dice, pleasure and 
sinful games ; and hence they totter this way and that way, not 
knowing whether they had best have Christ or no. (James i. 6, 7.) 
These people reject Jesus Christ. 

IV. And now come and see the greatness of this sin. 

1. It is a most bloody sin ; it is a trampling under foot the blood 
of the Son of God. (Heb. x. 21.) 

2. It is a most dishonoring sin ; for as by the first act of faith 
a man glorifieth God by obeying all the law at an instant in 
Christ, so by rejecting him thou dost break all those laws of 
God in an instant, and so dost dishonor him. 

3. It is a most ungrateful sin ; it is despising God's greatest 
love, which the Lord takes most heavily. 

4. It is a most inexcusable sin ; for what have you to cast 
against Jesus Christ ? O, my sins are so great, thou wilt say. 
But take Christ, his blood will wash thee from all thy sins. 

O, but my heart is hard, and my mind blind. 

Yea, but take me, and I will break thine heart, open thine eyes. 
A new heart is God's gift, and he hath promised to create it 
in us. 

O, but then I must forsake all my pleasures. 

Tliou shalt have them fully, continually, infinitely in Christ. 

O, but I can not take Christ. 

O, but Christ can give thee a hand to receive him, as well a^ 
give away himself. 



5. It is a most heavy sin. What sin will gripe so in hell as 
this? (John iii. 19.) God the Father shall strike the devils for 
breaking the law of the creation ; but God the Son shall strike 
thee, and the Comforter himself shall set himself against thee, for 
despising the means and offers of redemption. The devils might 
never have had mercy, but thou shalt think with anguish, and vexa- 
tion, and madness of heart, I might have had a Christ ; he was 
offered unto me. Mercy wooed this stubborn, proud heart to 
yield. But, O, rock of adamant that I was ! it did not affect me. 
O, fly speedily to this city of refuge, lest the pursuer of blood 
overtake thee. 

Away, then, out of yourselves, to the Lord Jesus. Heaven and 
earth leave thee, and have forsaken thee : now, there is but one 
more that can do thee good, and deliver thy soul from endless 
sorrow : go to him, and take hold on him, not with the hand of 
presumption and love to thyself, to save thyself, but with the hand 
of faith, and love to him, to honor him. 

I am well enough already : what tell you me of Christ ? 

This is the damning sin of these times : when men have Christ 
offered unto them, foretelling them else of wrath to come, they 
say they are well ; hence, feeling no judgment here, they fear no 
wrath hereafter ; hence, being well, they feel no need of Christ ; 
hence, till they die, they never seek out for a Saviour. Men will 
not come into the ark already made for them before the flood 
arise. The world makes so much of those it nurseth up, that they 
are unwilling to come to heaven, when they are called to come 

But it may be Christ hath not redeemed me, nor shed his blood 
for me ; therefore why should I go to him ? 

It may be, it is true ; may be not ; yet do thou venture, as those, 
(Joel ii.,) " Who knows but the Lord may return ? " It is true, God 
hath elected but few, and so the Son hatli shed his blood, and died 
but for a few ; yet this is no excuse for thee to he down and 
say, What should I seek out of myself for succor ? Thou must 
in this case venture and try, as many men amongst us do now, 
who, hearing of one good living fallen, twenty of them will go 
and seek for it, although they know only one shall have it. There- 
fore say as those lepers in Samaria, If I stay here in my sins, I 
die ; if I go out to the camp of the Syrians, we may live ; we can 
but die, however : if I go out to Christ, I may get mercy ; how- 
ever, I can but die, and it is better to die at Christ's feet than in 
thine own puddle. Content not yourselves therefore with your 
bare reformation, and amending your lives ; this is but to cross 
the debt in thine own book ; it remaineth uncancelled in the 
creditor's book still : but go, take, offer up this eternal sacrifice 


before the eyes of God the Father, and cry guilty at his bar, and 
look for mercy from him ; sigh under thy bondage, tliat as Moses 
was sent unto the Israelites, so may Christ be sent into thy soul. 
Rest not therefore in the sight or sense of a helpless condition, 
saying, I can not help myself, unless Christ doth : sigh unto the 
Lord Jesus in heaven for succor, and admire the Lord forever, 
that when there was no help, and when he might have raised 
out of the stones children to praise him, yet he should send his 
Son out of his bosom to save thee. So much for this particular. 
The fifth divine principle follows to be handled. 



" Strait is the gate and narrow is the way that leadeth unto 
life, and few there be that find it." (Matt. vii. 14.) 
Here^ are two parts : — 

1. The paucity of them that shall be saved: few find the way 

2. The difficulty of being saved : strait and narrow is the way 
and gate unto life. 

Hence arise two doctrines : — 

1. That the number of them that shall be saved is very small. 
(Luke xiii. 24.) The devil hath his drove, and swarms to go to 
hell, as fast as bees to their hive. Christ hath his flock, and that is 
but a little flock ; hence God's children are called jewels, (Mai. iii. 
17,) which commonly are kept secret, in respect of the other 
lumber in the house ; hence they are called strangers and pilgrims, 
which are very few in respect of the inhabitants of the country 
through which they pass ; hence they are called sons of God, 
(IJohn iii. 2 ;) of the blood royal, which are few in respect of 
common subjects. 

But see the truth of this point in these two things : — 

First, look to all ages and times of the world ; secondly, to all 
places and persons in the world ; and we shall see few men were 

1. Look to all ages, and we shall find but a handful saved. As 
soon as ever the Lord began to keep house, and there were but 
two families in it, there was a bloody Cain living, and a good 
Abel slain. And as the world increased in number, so in wick- 
edness. Gen. vi. 12, it is said, "All flesh had corrupted their 


ways," and amongst so many thousand men, not one righteous 
but Noah and his family, and yet in the ark there crept in a 
cursed Cham. 

Afterwards, as Abraham's posterity increased, so we see their 
sin abounded. When his posterity was in Egypt, where, one 
would think, if ever men were good, now it would appear, being 
so heavily afflicted by Pharaoh, being by so many miracles mirac- 
ulously delivered by the hand of Moses, yet most of these God 
was wroth with, (Heb. iii. 12,) and only two of them, Caleb and 
Joshua, went into Canaan, a type of heaven. Look into Solo- 
mon's time, what glorious times ? what great profession was there 
then ? Yet, after his death, ten tribes fell to the odious sin of 
idolatry, following the command of Jeroboam, their king. Look 
further into Isaiah's time, when there were multitudes of sacri- 
fices and prayers, (Is. i. 1 1 ;) yet then there was but a remnant ; 
nay, a very little remnant, that should be saved. And look to 
the time of Christ's coming in the flesh, (for I pick out the best 
time of all,) when one would think, by such sermons he preached, 
such miracles he wrought, such a life as he led, all the Jews 
would have entertained him ; yet it is said, " He came unto his 
own, and they received him not." So few, that Christ himself 
admires at one good Nathaniel, " Behold an Israelite in whom 
there is no guile." In the apostles' time, many, indeed, were con- 
verted, but few comparatively, and amongst the best churches 
many bad, as that at Philippi. (Phil. iii. 18.) Many had a 
name to live, but were dead, and few only kept their garments 
unspotted. And presently, after the apostles' time, "Many 
grievous wolves came and devoured the sheep ; " and so, in suc- 
ceeding ages, (Rev. xii. 9,) all the earth wondered at the whore 
in scarlet. 

And in Luther's time, when the light began to arise again, he 
saw" so many carnal gospelers, that he breaks out in one sermon 
into these speeches : " God grant I may never live to see those 
bloody days that are coming upon an ungodly world." Latimer 
heard so much profaneness in his time, that he thought verily 
doomsday was just at hand. And have not our ears heard cen- 
suring those in the Palatinate, where (as it is reported) many 
have fallen from the glorious gospel to Popery, as fast as leaves 
fall in autumn ? Who would have thought there had lurked 
such hearts under such a show of detesting Popery as was 
among them before ? And at Christ's coming, shall he find faith 
on the earth ? 

2. Let us look into all places and persons, and see how few 
shall be saved. The world is now split into four parts, Europe, 


Asia, Africa, and America ; and the three biggest parts are 
drowned in a deluge of profaneness and superstition ; they do 
not so much as profess Christ ; you may see the sentence of 
death written on these men's foreheads. (Jer. x. ult.) But let us 
look upon the best part of the world, and that is Europe ; how 
few shall be saved there ! First, the Grecian church, how- 
soever, now in these days, their good patriarch of Constantino- 
ple is about a general reformation among them, and hath done 
much good, yet are they for the present, and have been for the 
most part of them, without the saving means of knowledge. 
They content themselves with their old superstitions, having lit- 
tle or no preaching at all. And for the other parts, as Italy, 
Spain, France, Germany, for the most part they are Popish ; and 
see the end of these men. (2 Thess. ii. 9-12.) And now amongst 
them that carry the badge of honesty, I will not speak what 
mine ears have heard and my heart believes concerning other 
churches : I will come into our own church of England, which is 
the most flourishing church in the world ; never had church such 
preachers, such means ; yet have we not some chapels and 
churches stand as dark lanterns without light, where people are 
led with blind, or idle, or licentious ministers, and so both fall 
into the ditch ? 

Nay, even amongst them that have the means of grace, but 
few shall be saved. It may be sometimes amongst ninety-nine 
in a parish, Christ sends a minister to call some one lost sheep 
among them. (Matt, xiii.) Three grounds were bad where the 
seed was sown, and only one good. It is a strange speech of 
Chrysostom in his fourth sermon to the people of Antioch, where 
he was much beloved, and did much good — How many do you 
think, saith he, shall be saved in this city ? It will be a hard 
speech to you, but I will speak it ; though here be so many 
thousands of you, yet there can not be found a hundred that 
shall be saved, and I doubt of them too ; for what villainy is 
there among youth ! what sloth in old men ! and so he goes on. 
So say I, Never tell me we are baptized, and are Christians, and 
trust to Christ; let us but separate the goats from the sheep, 
and exclude none but such as the Scriptures doth, and sets a 
cross upon their doors, with. Lord, have mercy upon them, and 
we shall see only a few in the city shall be saved. 

1. Cast out all the profane people among us, as drunkards, 
swearers, whores, liars, which the Scripture brands for black 
sheep, and condemns them in a hundred places. 

2. Set by all civil men that are but wolves chained up, tame 
devils, swine in a fair meadow, that pay all they owe, and do 


nobody any harm, yet do none any ojreat good ; that plead for 
themselves, and say, Who can say, Black is mine eye ? These 
are righteous men, whom Christ never came to call. " For he 
came not to call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance." 

3. Cast by all hypocrites, that like stageplayers, in the sight 
of others, act the part of kings and honest men ; when, look 
upon them in their tyring house, they are but base varlets. 

4. Formal professors and carnal gospelers, that have a thing 
like faith, and like sorrow, and like true repentance, and like 
good desires, but yet they be but pictures ; they deceive others 
and themselves too. (2 Tim. iii. 5.) 

Set by these four sorts, how few then are to be saved, even 
among them that are hatched in the bosom of the church ! 

First. Here, then, is a use of encouragement. Be not discour- 
aged by the name of singularity. What ! do you think your- 
self wiser than others ? and shall none be saved but such as are 
so precise as ministers prate ? Are you wiser than others, that 
you think none shall go to heaven but yourself? I tell you, if 
you would be saved, you must be singular men, not out of fac- 
tion, but out of conscience. (Acts xxiv. 16.) 

Secondly. Here is matter of terror to all those that be of 
opinion that few shall be saved ; and therefore, when they are 
convinced of the danger of sin by the word, they fly to this 
shelter : If I be damned, it will be woe to many more beside me 
then ; as though most should not be damned. O, yes, the most 
of them that live in the church shall perish ; and this made a 
hermit which Theodoret mentions to live fifteen years in a cell in 
a desolate wilderness, with nothing but bread and water, and yet 
doubted, after all his sorrow, whether he should be saved or 
not. O, God's wrath is heavy, which thou shalt one day bear. 

Thirdly. This ministereth exhortation to all confident peo- 
ple, that think they believe, and say, they doubt not but to be 
saved, and hence do not much fear death. O, learn hence to 
suspect and fear your estates, and fear it so much that thou 
canst not be quiet until thou hast got some assurance thou shalt 
be saved. When Christ told his disciples that one of them 
should betray him, they all said, " Master, is it I ? " But if he had 
said eleven of them should betray him, all except one, would they 
not all conclude, Surely, it is I ? If the Lord had said. Only few 
shall be damned, every man might fear. It may be it is I ; but now 
he says most shall, every man may cry out and say. Surely it is I. 
No humble heart but is driven to and fro with many stinging 
fears this way ; yet there is a generation of presumptuous, 
brazen-faced, bold people, that confidently think of themselves, 


as the Jews of the Pharisees, (being so holy and strict,) that 
if God save but two in the world, they shall make one. 

The child of God, indeed, is bold as a lion ; but he hath God's 
spirit and promise, assuring him of his eternal welfare. But I 
speak of divers that have no sound ground to prove this point, 
(which they pertinaciously defend,) that they shall be saved. 
This confident humor rageth most of all in our old professors 
at large, who think, that is a jest indeed, that having been of a 
good belief so long, that they now should be so far behindhand as 
to begin the work, and lay the foundation anew. And not only 
among these, but amongst divers sorts of people whom the devil 
never troubles, because he is sure of them already, and therefore 
cries peace in their ears, whose consciences never trouble them, 
because that hath shut its eyes ; and hence they sleep, and 
sleeeping dream that God is merciful unto them, and will be so; 
yet never see they are deceived, until they awake with the flames 
of hell about their ears; and the world troubles them not; 
they have their hearts' desire here, because they are friends to 
it, and so enemies to God. And ministers never trouble them, 
for they have none such as are fit for that work near them ; or 
if they have, they can sit and sleep in the church, and choose 
whether they will believe him. And their friends never trouble 
them, because they are afraid to displease them. And God him- 
self never troubles them, because that time is to come hereafter. 
This one truth, well pondered and thought on, may damp thine 
heart, and make thy conscience fly in thy face, and say, 
*' Thou art the man ; " it may be there are better in hell than 
thyself, that art so confident ; and therefore tell me, what hast 
thou to say for thyself, that thou shalt be saved ? In what thing 
hast thou gone beyond them that " think they are rich and want 
nothing, who yet are poor, blind, miserable, and naked ? " 

Thou wilt say, haply, first, I have left my sins I once lived 
in, and am now no drunkard, no swearer, no liar, &c. 

I answer. Thou mayest be washed from thy mire, (the pollu- 
tion of the world,) and yet be a swine in God's account, (2 Pet. 
ii. 20 ;) thou mayest live a blameless, innocent, honest, smooth 
life, and yet be a miserable creature still. (Phil. iii. 6.) 

But I pray, and that often. 

This thou mayest do, and yet never be saved. (Is. i. 11.) 
To what purpose is your multitude of sacrifices ? Nay, thou 
mayest pray with much affection, with a good heart, as thou 
thinkest, yet a thousand miles off from being saved. (Prov. 
i. 28.) 

But I fast sometimes, as well as pray. 


So did the scribes and Pharisees, even twice a week, which 
could not be public, but private fasts. And yet this righteous- 
ness could never save them. 

But I hear the word of God, and like the best preachers. 

This thou mayest do too, and yet never be saved. Nay, thou 
mayest so hear, as to receive much joy and comfort in hearing, 
nay, to believe and catch hold on Christ, and so say and think he 
is thine, and yet not be saved ; as the stony ground did, (Matt, 
xiii.,) who heard the word with joy, and for a season believed. 

I read the Scriptures often. 

This you may do too, and yet never be saved ; as the Phari- 
sees, who were so perfect in reading the Bible, that Christ needed 
but only say, " It hath been said of old time ; " for they knew the 
text and place well enough without intimation. 

But I am grieved and am sorrowful, and repent for my sins 

Judas did thus, (Matt, xxvii. 3 ;) he repents himself with a legal 
repentance for fear of hell, and with a natural sorrow for deal- 
ing so unkindly with Christ, in betraying not only blood, but 
innocent blood. True humiliation is ever accompanied with 
hearty reformation. 

O, but I love good men and their company. 

So did the five foolish virgins love the company, and (at the 
time of extremity) the very oil and grace of the wise ; yet they 
were locked out of the gates of mercy. 

But God hath given me more knowledge than others, or than 
I myself had once. 

This thou mayest have, and be able to teach others, and think 
so of thyself too, and yet never be saved. 

But I keep the Lord's day strictly. 

So did the Jews, whom yet Christ condemned, and were never 

I have very many good desires and endeavors to get to 

These thou and thousands may have, and yet miss of heaven. 

Many shall seek to enter in at that narrow gate, and not be 

True, thou wilt say. Many men do many duties, but without 
any life or zeal ; I am zealous. 

So thou mayest be, and yet never be saved, as Jehu. Paul 
was zealous when he was a Pharisee, and if he was so for a false 
religion, and a bad cause, why, much more mayest thou be for a 
good cause ; so zealous as not only to cry out against profane- 
ness in the wicked, but civil honesty of others, and hypocrisy of 


Others, yea, even of the coldness of the best of God's people ; 
thou majest be the fore horse in the team, and the ringleader of 
good exercises amongst the best men, (as Joash, a wicked king, 
was the first that complained of the negligence of his best offi- 
cers in not repairing the temple,) and so stir them up unto it; 
nay, thou mayest be so forward as to be persecuted, and not 
yield an inch, nor shrink in the wetting, but mayest manfully 
and courageously stand it out in time of persecution, as the 
thorny ground did : so zealous thou mayest be, as to like best of 
and to fiock most unto the most zealous preachers, that search 
men's consciences best, as the whole country of Judea came 
flocking to John's ministry, and delighted to hear him for a sea- 
son ; nay, thou mayest be zealous as to take sweet delight in 
doing of all these things. (Is. Iviii. 2, 3,) " They delight in ap- 
proaching near unto God," yet come short of heaven. 

But thou wilt say. True, many a man rides post that breaks 
his neck at last ; many a man is zealous, but his fire is soon 
quenched, and his zeal is soon spent ; they hold not out ; whereas 
I am constant, and persevere in godly courses. 

So did that young man ; yet he was a graceless man. (Matt. 
xix. 20,) " All these things have I done from my youth ; what 
lack I yet?" 

It is true, hypocrites may persevere; but they know them- 
selves to be naught all the while, and so deceive others ; but I 
am persuaded that I am in God's favor, and in a safe and happy 
estate, since I do all with a good heart for God. 

This thou mayest verily think of thyself, and yet be deceived 
and damned, and go to the devil at last. "There is a way," saith 
Solomon, " that seemeth right to a man, but the end thereof is 
the way of death." For he is a hypocrite not only that makes 
a seeming outward show of what he hath not, but also that hath 
a true show of what indeed there is not. The first sort of hyp- 
ocrites deceive others only ; the latter, having some inward yet 
commo^ work, deceive themselves too. (James i. 26,) "If any 
man seem to be religious," (so many are, and so deceive the 
world ;) but it is added, " deceiving his own soul." Nay, thou 
mayest go so fairly, and live so honestly, that all the best Chris- 
tians about thee may think well of thee and never suspect thee, 
and so mayest pass through the world, and die with a deluded 
comfort that thou shalt go to heaven and be canonized for a 
saint in thy funeral sermon, and never know thou art counterfeit 
till the Lord brings thee to thy strict and last examination, and so 
thou receivest that dreadful sentence, " Go, ye cursed." So it was 
with the five foolish virgins, that were never discovered by the 

VOL. I. 6 


wise, nor by themselves, until the gate of grace was shut upon 
them. If thou hast, therefore, no better evidences to show for 
thyself, that thine estate is good, than these, I will not give a pin's 
point for all thy flattering false hopes of being saved. But it may 
be thou hast never yet come so far as to this pitch ; and if not, 
Lord, what will become of thee ? Suspect thyself much, and 
when, in this shipwreck of souls, thou seest so many thousands 
sink, cry out, and conclude, It is a wonder of wonders, and a 
thousand and a thousand to one, if ever thou comest safe to 

O, strive, then, to be one of theni that shall be saved, though 
it cost thee thy blood and the loss of all that thou hast ; labor to 
go beyond all those that go so far and yet perish at the last. Do 
not say that, seeing so few shall be saved, therefore this discour- 
ageth me from seeking, because all my labor may be in vain. 
Consider that Christ here makes another and a better use of it. 
(Luke iii 24.) Seeing that " many shall seek and not enter, 
therefore," saith he, " strive to enter in at the strait gate." Ven- 
ture, at least, and try what the Lord will do for thee. 

Wherein doth the child of God, and so how may I, go beyond 
these hypocrites that go so far ? 

In three things principally. 

First. No unregenerate man, though he go never so far, let 
him do never so much, but he lives in some one sin or other, 
secret or open, little or great. Judas went far, but he was cov- 
etous. Herod went far, but he loved his Herodias. Every dog 
hath his kennel ; every swine hath his swill, and every wicked 
man his lust. For no unregenerate man hath fruition of God 
to content him, and there is no man's heart but it must have- 
some good to content it ; which good is to be found only in the 
fountain of all good, and that is God, or in the cistern, and that 
is in the creatures. Hence, a man having lost full content in 
God. he seeks for and feeds upon contentment in the creature 
which he makes a god to him ; and here lies his lust or sin, 
which he must needs live in. Hence, ask those men that go 
very far, and take their penny for good silver, and commend 
themselves for their good desires — I say, ask them if they have 
no sin. Yes, say they; who can live without sin? And so 
they give way to sin, and therefore live in sin. Nay, commonly, 
all the duties, prayers, care, and zeal of the best hypocrites are 
to hide a lust, as the whore in the Proverbs, that wipes her 
mouth, and goes to the temple, and pays her vows ; or to feed a 
lust, as Jehu his zeal against Baal was to get a kingdom. There 
remains a root of bitterness in the best hypocrites, which, 


howsoever it be lopped off sometimes by sickness or horror of 
conscience, and a man hath purposes never to commit again, yet 
there it secretly lurks ; and, though it seemeth to be bound and 
conquered by the word, or by prayer, or by outward crosses, or 
while the hand of God is upon a man, yet the inward strength 
and power of it remains still ; and therefore, when temptations, 
like strong Philistines, are upon this man again, he breaks all 
TOWS, promises, bonds of God, and will save the life of his sin. 

Secondly. No unregenerate man or woman ever came to be 
poor in spirit, and so to be carried out of all duties unto Christ. 
If it were possible for them to forsake and break loose forever 
from all sin, yet here they stick, as the scribes and Pharisees ; 
and so, like zealous Paul before his conversion, they fasted and 
prayed, and kept the Sabbath, but they rested in their legal 
righteousness, and in the performance of these and the like 
duties. Take the best hypocrite, that hath the most strong 
persuasions of God's love to him, and ask him why he hopes to 
be saved. He will answer, I pray, read, hear, love good men, 
cry out of the sins of the time. And tell him again that a 
hypocrite may climb these stairs and go as far, he will reply. 
True, indeed ; but they do not what they do with a sound heart, 
but to be seen of men. Mark, now, how these men feel a good 
heart in themselves and in all things they do ; and therefore 
feel not a want of all good, which is poverty of spirit ; and there- 
fore here they fall short. (Is. Ixvi. 2.) There were divers 
hypocrites forward for the worship of God in the temple ; but 
God loathes these, because not poor in spirit ; to them only, it is 
said, the Lord will look. I have seen many professors very 
forward for all good duties, but as ignorant of Christ, when they 
are sifted, as blocks. And if a man (as few do) know not Christ, 
he must rest in his duties, because he knows not Christ, to whom 
he must go and be carried if ever he be saved. I have heard 
of a man that, being condemned to die, thought to escape the 
gallows, and to save himself from hanging, by a certain gift he 
said he had of whistling. So men seek to save themselves by 
their gifts of knowledge, gifts of memory, gifts of prayer ; and 
when they see they must die for their sins, this is the ruin of 
many a soul, that, though he forsake Egypt and his sins and 
flesh pots there, and will never be so as he hath been, yet he 
never cometh into Canaan, but loseth himself and his soul in a 
wilderness of many duties, and there perisheth. 

Thirdly. If any unregenerate man come unto Christ, he 
never gets into Christ, that is, never takes his eternal rest and 
lodging in Jesus Christ only. (Heb, iv, 4.) Judas followed 


Christ for the bag ; he would have the bag and Christ too. The 
young man came unto Christ to be his disciple ; but he would 
have Christ and the world too. They will not content them- 
selves with Christ alone, nor with the world alone, but make 
their markets out of both, like whorish wives, that will please 
their husbands and others too. Men in distress of conscience, 
if they have comfort from Christ, they are contented ; if they 
have salvation from hell by Christ, they are contented ; but 
Christ himself contents them not. Thus far a hypocrite goes 
not. So much for the first doctrine observed out of the text. 
I come now to the second. 

Doctrine 2. That those that are saved are saved with much 
difficulty ; or it is a wonderful hard thing to be saved. 
'^The gate is strait, and therefore a man must sweat and strive 
to enter ; both the entrance is difficult, and the progress of sal- 
vation too. Jesus Christ is not got with a wet finger. It is not 
wishing and desiring to be saved will bring men to heaven ; 
hell's mouth is full of good wishes. It is not shedding a tear at 
a sermon, or blubbering now and then in a corner, and saying 
over thy prayers, and crying God mercy for thy sins, will save 
thee. It is not. Lord, have mercy upon us, will do thee good. 
It is not coming constantly to church. These are easy matters. 
But it is a tough work, a wonderful hard matter, to be saved. 
(1 Pet. iv. 18.) Hence the way to heaven is compared to a 
race, where a man must put forth all his strength, and stretch 
every limb, and all to get forward. Hence a Christian's life is 
compared to wrestling. (Eph. vi. 12.) All the policy and 
power of hell buckle together against a Christian ; therefore 
he must look to himself, or else he falls. Hence it is compared 
to fighting. (2 Tim. iv. 7.) A man must fight against the devil, 
the world, himself, who shoot poisoned bullets in the soul, where 
a man must kill or be killed. God hath not lined the way to 
Christ with velvet, nor strewed it with rushes. He will never 
feed a slothful humor in man, who will be saved if Christ and 
heaven would drop into their mouths, and if any would bear their 
charges thither. If Christ might be bought for a few cold 
wishes and lazy desires, he would be of small reckoning amongst 
men, who would say, Lightly come, lightly go. Indeed, Christ's 
yoke is easy in itself ; and when a man is got into Christ, noth- 
ing is so sweet ; but for a carnal, dull heart, it is hard to draw 
in it ; for 

There are four strait gates which every one must pass through 
before he can enter into heaven. 

1. There is the strait gate of humiliation. God saveth none 


but first he hnmbleth them. Now, it is hard to pass through 
the gates and flames of hell ; for a heart as stiff as a stake to 
bow ; as hard as a stone to bleed for the least prick ; not to 
mourn for one sin, but all sins ; and not for a fit, but all a man's 
lifetime. O, it is hard for a man to suffer himself to be loaden 
with sin, and pressed to death for sin, so as never to love sin 
more, but to spit in the face of that which he once loved as 
dearly as his life. It is easy to drop a tear or two, and be ser- 
mon sick ; but to have a heart rent for sin and from sin, this is 
true humilitation ; and this is hard. 

2. The strait gate of faith. (Eph. i. 19.) It is an easy matter 
to presume, but hard to believe in Christ. It is easy for a man 
that was never humbled to believe and say, It is but believ- 
ing ; but it is a hard matter for a man humbled, when he sees 
all his sins in order before him, the devil and conscience roarinof 
upon him, and crying out against him, and God frowning upon 
him, now to call God Father, is a hard work. Judas had rather 
be hanged than believe. It is hard to see a Christ as a rock to 
stand upon, when we are overwhelmed with sorrow of heart for 
sin. It is hard to prize Christ above ten thousand worlds of 
pearl ; it is hard to desire Christ, and nothing but Christ ; hard 
to follow Christ all the day long, and never to be quiet till he is 
got in thine arms, and then with Simeon to say, " Lord, now 
lettest thou thy servant depart in peace." 

0. The strait gate of repentance. It is an easy matter for a 
man to confess himself to be a sinner, and to cry to God forgive- 
ness until next time ; but to have a bitter sorrow, and so to turn 
from all sin, and to return to God, and all the ways of God, which 
is true repentance indeed, this is hard. 

4. The strait gate of opposition of devils, the world, and a 
man's own self, who knock a man down when he begins to look 
toward Christ and heaven. 

Hence learn, that every easy way to heaven is a false way, 
although ministers should preach it out of their pulpits, and 
angels should publish it out of heaven. 

Now, there are nine easy ways to heaven, (as men think,) all 
which lead to hell. 

1. The common broad way, wherein a whole parish may all go 
abreadth in it ; tell these people they shall be damned, tlieir 
answer is, Then woe to many more besides me. 

2. The way of civil education, whereby many wild natures are 
by little and little tamed, and like wolves are chained up easily 
while they are young. 

3. Balaam's way of good wishes, whereby many people will 

G * 


confess their ignorance, forge tfulness, and that they can not make 
such shows as others do, but they thank God their hearts are as 
good, and God for his part accepts (say they) the will for 
the deed. And, '• My son, give me thy heart ; " the heart is all 
in all, and so long they hope to do well enough. Poor deluded 
creatures thus think to break through armies of sins, devils, 
temptations, and to break open the very gates of heaven with a 
few good wishes ; they think to come to their journey's end 
without legs, because their hearts are good to God. 
/4. The way of formality, whereby men rest in the perform- 
ance of most or of all external duties without inward life. (Mark 
i. 14.) Every man must have some religion, some fig leaves to 
hide their nakedness. Now, this religion must be either true 
religion or the false one ; if the true, he must either take up the 
power of it, — but that he will not, because it is burdensome, — or 
the form of it ; and this being easy, men embrace it as their God, 
and will rather lose their lives than their religion thus taken up. 
This form of religion is the easiest religion in the world ; partly 
because it easeth men of trouble of conscience, quieting that : 
Thou hast sinned, saith conscience, and God is offended ; take a 
book, and pray, keep thy conscience better, and bring thy Bible 
with thee; now, conscience is silent, being charmed down with 
the form of religion, as the devil is driven away (as they say) 
with holy water;; partly, also, because the form of religion credits 
a man, partly because it is easy in itself ; it is of a light carriage, 
being but the shadow and picture of the substance of religion ; 
as now, what an easy matter it is to come to church ! They hear 
(at least outwardly) very attentively an hour and more, and then 
to turn to a proof, and to turn down a leaf: here is the form. 
But now to spend Saturday night, and all the whole Sabbath 
day morning, in trimming the lamp, and in getting oil in the heart 
to meet the bridegroom the next day, and so meet him in the 
word, and there to tremble at the voice of God, and suck the 
breast while it is open ; and when the word is done, to go aside 
privately, and there to chew upon the word, there to lament with 
tears all the vain thoughts in duties, deadness in hearing, this is 
hard, because this is the power of godliness, and this men will 
not take up : so for private prayer ; what an easy matter is it 
for a man to say over a few prayers out of some devout book, or 
to repeat some old prayer, got by heart since a child, or to have 
two or three short-winded wishes for God's mercy in the morning 
and at night ! this form is easy. But now to prepare the heart 
by serious meditation of God and man's self, before he prays, 
then to come to God with a bleeding, hunger-starved heart, not 


only with a desire, but with a warrant, I must have such or such 
a mercy, and there to wrestle with God, although it be an hour 
or two together for a blessing, this is too hard ; men think none 
do thus, and therefore they will not. 

Fifthly. The way of presumption, whereby men, having seen 
their sins, catch hold easily upon God's mercy, and snatch com- 
forts before they are reached out unto them. There is no word 
of comfort, in the book of God, intended for such as regard ini- 
quity in their hearts, though they do not act it in their lives. Their 
only comfort is, that the sentence of damnation is not yet exe- 
cuted upon them. 

Sixthly. The way of sloth, whereby men lie still, and say, 
God must do all. If the Lord would set up a pulpit at the ale- 
house door, it may be they would hear oftener. If God will always 
thunder, they will always pray ; if strike them now and then 
with sickness, God shall be paid with good words and promises 
enough, that they will be better if they live ; but, as long as 
peace lasts, they will run to hell as fast as they can ; and, if God 
will not catch them, they care not, they will not return. 

Seventhly. The way of carelessness, when men, feehng many 
difficulties, pass through some of them, but not all, and what they 
can not get now, they feed themselves with a false hope they 
shall hereafter ; they are content to be called precisians, and 
fools, and crazy brains, but they want brokenness of heart, and 
they will pray (it may be) for it, and pass by that difficulty ; but 
to keep the wound always open, this they will not do ; to be 
always sighing for help, and never to give themselves rest till 
their hearts are humbled, that they will not : " These have a 
name to live, yet are dead." 

Eighthly. The way of moderation, or honest discretion, (Rev. 
iii. 16,) which, indeed, is nothing but lukewarmness of the soul; 
and that is, when a man contrives, and cuts out such a way to 
heaven as he may be hated of none, but please all, and so do 
any thing for a quiet life, and so sleep in a whole skin. The 
Lord saith, " He that will live godly must suffer persecution." 
No, not so. Lord. Surely, (think they,) if men were discreet and 
wise, it would prevent a great deal of trouble and opposition in 
good courses ; this man will commend those that are most zeal- 
ous, if they were but wise ; if he meet with a black-mouthed 
swearer, he will not reprove him, lest he be displeased with him ; 
if he meet with an honest man, he will yield to all he saith, that 
so he may commend him ; and when he meets them both to- 
gether, they shall be both alike welcome (whatever he thinks) 
to his house and table, because he would fain be at peace with 
all men. 


Ninthly, and lastly. The way of self-love, whereby a man, 
fearing terribly he shall be damned, useth diligently all means 
whereby he shall be saved. Here is the strongest difficulty of 
all, to row against the stream, and to hate a man's self, and then 
to follow Christ fully. 

I come now to the sixth general head, proposed in order to be 



" Why will ye die ? " (Ezek. xxxiii. 1 1 :) The great cause why 
so many people die, and perish everlastingly, is because they 
will ; every man that perisheth is his own butcherer or mur- 
derer. (Matt. xxii. 27. Hosea ix.) This is the point we propose 
to prosecute at present. 

Question. The question here will be, how men plot and per- 
fect their own ruin. 

Answer. By these four principal means, which are the four 
great rocks that most men are split upon ; and great necessity 
lieth upon every man to know them ; for when a powder plot is 
discovered, the danger is almost past. I say, there are these four 
causes of man's eternal overthrow, which I shall handle largely, 
and make use of every particular reason, when it is open and 

First. By reason of that bloody black ignorance of men, 
whereby thousands remain wofully ignorant of their spiritual 
estate, not knowing how the case stands between God and their 
souls, but thinking themselves to be well enough already, they 
never seek to come out of their misery till they perish in it. 

Secondly. By reason of man's carnal security, putting the 
evil day from them, whereby they feel not their fearful thralidom, 
and so never groan to come out of the slavish bondage of sin and 

Thirdly. By reason of man's carnal confidence, whereby they 
shift to save themselves by their own duties and performances, 
when they feel it. 

Fourthly. By reason of man's bold presumption, whereby 
men scramble to save themselves by their own seeming faith, 
when they see an insutficieney in duties, and an unworthiness in 
themselves for God to save them. 


I will begin with the first reason, and discover the first train 
wlierebj^ men blow up themselves, which is this : they know- 
not this misery, nor that fearful, accursed, forlorn state wherein 
they lie, but think and say they shall do as well as others ; and 
therefore, when any friend persuadeth them to come out of it, and 
shows them the danger of remaining in such a condition, what is 
their answer ? I pray you save your breath to cool your broth. 
Elvery vat shall stand on his own bottom. Let me alone ; I hope 
I have a soul to save as well as you, and shall be as careful of 
it as you shall or can be. You shall not answer for my souL 
I hope I shall do as well as the precisest of you all. 

Hence, likewise, if the minister come home to them, they go 
home with hearts full of outcries against the man, and their 
tongue dipped in gall against the sermon. God be merciful unto 
us if all this be true ! Here's harsh doctrine enough to make 
a man run out of his wits, and to drive me to despair. Thus 
they know not their misery, and not knowing, (they are lost and 
condemned creatures under the everlasting w^ath of God,) they 
never seek, pray, strive, or follow the means whereby they may 
come out of it, and so perish in it, and never know it till they 
awake with the flames of hell about their ears. They will 
acknowledge, indeed, many of them, that all men are born in a 
most miserable estate ; but they never apply particularly that 
general truth to themselves, saying, I am the man ; I am now 
under God's wrath, and may be snatched away by death every 
hour ; and then I am undone and lost forever. 

Now, there are two sorts of people that are ignorant of this 
their misery. 

First. The common sort of profane, blockish, ignorant people. 

Secondly. The finer sort of unsound, hollow professors, that 
have a peacock's pride, that think themselves fair and in very 
good estate, though they have but one feather on their crest to 
boast of. 

I will begin with the first sort, and show you the reasons why 
they are ignorant of their misery ; that is, for these four reasons : — 

First. Sometimes because they want the saving means of 
knowledge. There is no faithful minister, no compassionate 
Lot, to tell them of fire and brimstone from heaven for their 
crying sins ; there is no Noah to forewarn them of a flood ; there 
is no messenger to bring them tidings of those armies of God's 
devouring plagues and wrath that are approaching near unto 
them ; they have no pilot — poor forsaken creatures — to show 
them their rock ; they have either no minister at all to teach 
them, either because the parish is too poor, or the church living 


too great to maintain a faithful man, (the strongest asses caiTjing 
the greatest burdens commonly.) O, woful physicians ! Some- 
times they be profane, and can not heal themselves ; and some- 
times they be ignorant, and know not what to preach, unless they 
should follow the steps of Mr. Latimer's Frier ; or, at the best, 
they shoot off a few popguns against gross sins ; or if they do show 
men their misery, they lick them whole again with some com- 
fortable, ill-applied sentences, (but I hope better things of you, 
my brethren,) the man's patron may haply storm else. Or 
else they say commonly, Thou hast sinned ; comfort thyself, but 
despair not ; Christ hath suffered ; and thus skin over the wouud, 
and let it fester within, for want of cutting it deeper. I say, 
therefore, because they want a faithful watchman to cry. Fire, 
fire, in that sleepy estate of sin and darkness wherein they lie, 
therefore whole towns, parishes, generations of men are burnt 
up, and perish miserably. (Lam. ii. 14.) 

Secondly. Because they have no leisure to consider of their 
misery, when they have the means of revealing it unto them, as 
Felix. (Acts xxiv. 25.) Many a man hath many a bitter pill 
given him at a sermon, but he hath no leisure to chew upon it. 
One man is taken up with suits in law, and another almost eaten 
up with suretyship, and carking cares how to pay his debts, and 
provide for his own ; another hath a great charge and few friends, 
and he saith the world is hard, and hence, like a mole, roots in 
the earth, week days and Sabbath days. The world thus calling 
them on one side, and lusts on another, and the devil on the 
other side, they have no leisure to consider of death, devil, God, 
nor themselves, hell, nor heaven. The minister cries and knocks 
without, but there is such a noise and lumber of tumultuous 
lusts and vain thoughts in their hearts and heads, that all good 
thoughts are sad, unwelcome guests, and are knocked down 

Thirdly. Because, if they have leisure, they are afraid to 
know it. Hence people cry out of ministers, that they damn all, 
and will hear them no more, and they will not be such fools as 
to believe all that such say : the reason is, they are afraid to 
know the worst of themselves ; they are afraid to be cut, and 
therefore can not endure the chirurgeon ; they tliink to be troubled 
in mind, as others are, is the very high road to despair ; and 
therefore, if they do hear a tale, how one, after hearing of a ser- 
mon, grew distracted, or drowned or hanged himself, it shall be 
an item and a warning to them as long as they live, for troubling 
their hearts about such matters. Men of guilty consciences 
(hence) fly from the face of God, as prisoners from the judge, as 


debtors from the creditor. But if the Lord of hosts can catch 
you, you must and shall feel with horror of heart that which you 
fear a little now. 

Fourthly. Because, if they be free from this foolish fear, they 
can not see their misery, by reason that they look upon their 
estates through false glasses, and by virtue of many false princi- 
ples in their minds, they cheat themselves. 

"Which false principles are these principally ; I will but name 

First. 'They conceive God, that made them, will not be so 
cruel as to damn them. 

Secondly. Because they feel no misery, (but are very well,) 
therefore they fear none. 

Thirdly. Because God blesseth them in their outward estates, 
in their corn, children, calling, friends, &c., would God bless them 
so, if he did not love them ? 

Fourthly. Because they think sin to be no great evil, — for all 
are sinners, — so this can not mischief them. 

Fifthly. Because they think God's mercy is above all his 
works, though sin be vile, yet conceiving God to be all mercy, 
all honey, and no justice, they think they are well. 

Sixthly. Because they think Christ died for all sinners, and 
they confess themselves to be great ones. 

Seventhly. Because they hope well, and so think to have 

Eighthly. Because they do as most do, who, never crying out 
of their sins while they liv-ed, and dying like lambs at last, they 
doubt not, for their parts, but, doing as such do, they shall die 
happily, as others have done. 

Ninthly. Because their desires and hearts are good, as they 

Tenthly. Because they do as well as God will give them 
grace, and so God is in the fault only if they perish. 

These are the reasons and grounds upon which profane peo- 
ple are deceived. 

Now, it followeth to show the grounds on which the finer sort 

Secondly. Hollow professors cheat and cozen their own 
souls. It is in our church as it is in an old wood, where there 
are many tall trees ; yet cut them and search them deeply, they 
prove pithless, sapless, hollow, unsound creatures. These men 
twist their own ruin with a finer thread, and can juggle better 
than the common sort, and cast mists before their own eyes, and 
so cheat their own souls. It is a minister's first work to turn 


men from darkness into this light, (Acts xxvi. 18,) and the 
Spirit's first work to convince men of sin. (John xvi. 9.) And 
therefore it is people's main work to know the worst at first of 

Now, the cause of these men's mistaking is threefold. 

First. The spiritual madness and drunkenness of their un- 

Secondly. The false, bastard peace begot and nourished in the 

Thirdly. The sly and secret distempers of the will. 

First. There are these seven drunken distempers in the 
understanding or mind of man, whereby he cometh to be most 
miserably deceived. 

First. The understanding's arrogancy. You shall never see 
a man mean and vile in his own eyes, deceived, (Ps. xxv. 9 ;) 
but a proud man or woman is often cheated. Hence proud Ha- 
man thought surely he was the man whom the king would honor, 
when, in truth, it was intended for poor Mordecai. For pride 
having once overspread the mind, it ever hath this property — it 
makes a penny stand for a pound, a spark is blown up to a flame, 
it makes a great matter of a little seeming grace ; and therefore 
the proud Pharisee, when he came to reckon with himself, he 
takes his poor counter, — that is, "I am not as other men, nor as 
this publican," — and sets it down for one thousand pounds ; that is, 
he esteems of himself as a very rich man for it ; so many a 
man, because he hath some good thing in himself, as he is pitiful to 
the poor, he is a true man though a poor man ; he was never 
given to wine or women ; he magnifieth himself for this title, 
and so deceives and overreckons himself. There are your 
Bristow stones like diamonds, and many cheaters cozen country 
folks with them that desire to be fine, and know not what dia- 
monds are ; so many men are desirous to be honest, and to be 
reputed so, not knowing what true grace means. Therefore 
Bristow stones are pearls in their eyes. A little seeming grace 
shines so bright in their eyes, that they are half bewitched by it 
to think highly of themselves, although they be but glittering, 
seeming jewels in a swine's snout. A cab of doves' dung was 
sold in Samaria's time of famine at a great rate ; a man living 
in such a place, where all about him are either ignorant, or pro- 
fane, or civil, a little moral honesty (dung in respect of true 
grace) goes a great way, and is esteemed highly of, and he is as 
honest a man as ever lived. To a man that looks through a red 
glass, all things appear red ; a man looking upon himself through 
some fair spectacles, through some one good thing which he hath 


in himself, appears fair to him. It is said, (Luke xx. ult.,) "The 
Pharisees devoured widows' houses. Might not this racking of 
rents make them question their estates? No. Why? They 
for pretense made long prayers ; so many men are drunk now 
and then, but they are sorry ; they can not but sin, but their de- 
sires are good ; they talk idly, but they live honestly ; they do ill 
sometimes, but they mean well. Thus, when some good things 
are seen in themselves, pride puffs them up with an overweening 
conceit of it, and so they cozen their souls. 

Secondly. The understanding's obstinacy ; whereby the mind, 
having been long rooted in this opinion, that I am in a good 
estate, will not suffer this conceit to be plucked out of it. Now, 
your old rooted, yet rotten professors, having grown long in a 
good conceit of themselves, will not believe that they have been 
fools all their lifetime, and therefore now must pull down and 
lay the foundation again ; and hence you shall have many say 
of a faithful minister, that doth convince and condemn them and 
their estate to be most woful. What shall such an upstart teach 
me ? Doth he think to make me dance after his pipe, and to think 
that all my good prayers, my faith, my charity, have been so 
long abominable and vile before God ? No silver can bribe a 
man to cast away his old traditional opinions and conceits, where- 
by he cheats himself, till Christ's blood do it. (1 Pet. i. 18.) 
And hence the woman of Samaria objected this against Jesus 
Christ, that their old '' fathers worshiped in that mountain," and 
therefore it was as good a place as Jerusalem, the place of God's 
true worship. (John iv. 20.) Men grow crooked and aged with 
good opinions of themselves, and can seldom or never be set 
straight again. Hence such kind of people, though they would 
fain be taken for honest, religious Christians, yet will never sus- 
pect their estates to be bad themselves, neither can they endure 
that any other should search or suspect them to be yet rotten at 
the heart : and are not those wares and commodities much to be 
suspected, nay, concluded to be stark naught, which the seller 
will needs put upon tlie chapman without .seeing or looking on 
them first? It is a strong argument we produce against the 
Papist's religion to be suspected to be bad, because they obtrude 
their opinions on their followers, to be believed without any 
hesitation or dispute about them, either before or after they have 
embraced them : certainly thy old faith, thy old prayers, thy old 
honesty, or form of piety, are counterfeit wares, that can not 
endure searching ; because thou wilt not be driven from this 
conceit, I am in a good estate, I have been so long of this good 
mind, and therefore will not begin to doubt now. It is to be 

VOL. I. 7 


feared that such kind of people, as I have much observed, are 
either notoriously ignorant, or have some time or other fallen into 
some horrible secret, grievous sins, as whoredom, oppression, or 
the Hke, the guilt of which, lying yet secretly on them, makes 
them fly from the light of God's truth, which should find them out, 
quarreling both against it and the ministers that preach it. (Rom. 
ii. 8.) And therefore, as it is with thieves when they have any 
stolen goods brought \tithin doors, they will not be searched or 
suspected, but say, they are as honest men as themselves that come 
to search ; for they fear, if they be found out, that they shall be 
troubled before the judge, and may hardly escape with their 
lives : so many old professors, when the minister comes to search 
them, they clap to the doors upon the man and truth too, and 
say, they hope to be saved as well as the best of them all : the 
reason is, they are guilty ; they are loth to be troubled and cast 
down by seeing the worst of themselves, and think it is hard for 
them to go to heaven and be saved, if they have been in a wrong 
way all their lifetime. An honest heart will cry after the best 
means, " Lord, search me," (John iii. 20,) and open all the 
doors to the entertainment of the straitest, strictest truths. 

Thirdly. The understanding's obscurity, or ignoi-ance of the 
infinite exactness, glorious purity, and absolute perfection of the 
law of God ; whence it cometh to pass that this burning lamp, 
or bright sun of God's law, being set and obscured in their 
minds, rotten glowworms of their own righteousness, doing 
some things according to the law of God, shines and glisters 
gloriously in their eyes, in the dark nighttime of dismal dark- 
ness, by doing of which they think to please God, and their 
estates are very good. " I was alive," saith Paul, (Rom. vii. 9,) 
" without the law ; " and he gives the reason of it, because sin did 
but sleep in him, like a cutthroat in a house where all is quiet. 
Before the law came, he saw not that deadly secret score of cor- 
ruption, and that litter of rebellion that was lurking in his heart, 
and therefore thought highly of himself for his own righteous- 
ness. The gospel is a glass to show men the face of God in 
Christ. (2 Cor. ii. ult.) The law is that glass that showeth a 
man his own face, and what he himself is. Now, if this glass 
be taken away, and not set before a deformed heart, how can a 
man but think himself fair ? And this is the reason why civil 
men, formalists, almost every one, think better of themselves 
than indeed they are, because they reckon without their host ; 
that is, they judge of the number, nature, and greatness of their 
sins by their own books, by their own reason ; they look not 
God's debt book, God's exact laws over, and compare themselves 


therewith ; if they did, it would amaze the stoutest heart, and 
pluck down men's plumes, and make them say, Is there any 
mercy so great as to pass by such sins, and to put up such 
wrongs, and to forgive such sins and debts, one of which alone 
may undo me, much more so many ? 

Fourthly. The understanding's security or sleepiness, whereby 
men never reflect upon their own actions, nor compare them with 
the rule ; although they have knowledge of the law of God, yet 
it is with them as it is with men that have a fair glass before 
them, but never beholding themselves in the glass, they never 
see their spots. This is the woe of most unregenerate men ; they 
want a reflecting power, and light to judge of themselves by. 
(Jer. viii. 6.) You shall have them think on a sermon. Here is 
for such a one, and such a one is touched here ; when it may be 
the same sermon principally speaks of them ; but they never 
say, This concerneth me ; I was found out through the goodness 
of the Lord to-day, and surely the man spake unto none but unto 
me, as if somebody had told him what I have done. And hence 
you shall find out many lame Christians, that will yield to all 
the truths delivered in a sermon, and commend it too, but go away 
and shake off all truths that serve to convince them. And hence 
many men, when they examine themselves in general, whether 
they have grace or no, whether they love Christ or no, they think 
yes, that they do with all their hearts ; yet they neither have this 
grace nor any other, whatever they think, because they want a re- 
flecting light to judge of generals by their own particular courses. 
For tell these men that he that loves one another truly, will 
often think of him, speak of him, rejoice in his company, will not 
wrong him willingly in the least thing ; now, ask them, if they love 
Christ thus. If they have any reflecting light, they will see 
where they have one thought of Christ, they have a thousand 
on other things. Rejoice ! nay, they are weary of his company 
in word, in prayer. And that they do not only wrong him, but 
make a light matter of it when it is done. All are sinners, and 
"' no man can live without sin. Like a sleepy man, (fire burning 
in his bed straw,) he cries not out, when others happily lament 
his estate, that see afar off, but can not help him. (Is. xlii. 25.) 
A man that is to be hanged the next day may dream over night 
he shall be a king. Why ? Because he is asleep, he reflects 
not on himself. Thou mayest go to the devil, and be damned, 
and yet ever think and dream that all is well with thee. Thou 
hast no reflecting light to judge of thyself. Pray therefore that 
the Lord would turn your eyes inward, and do not let the devil 
and delusion shut you out of your own house, from seeing what 
court is kept there every day. 


Fifthly. The understanding's impiety, whereby it lessens and 
vilifies the glorious grace of God in anofher ; whence it comes to 
pass, that this deluded soul, seeing none much better than him- 
self, concludes, If any be saved, I shall no doubt be one. (Is. xxvi. 
10, 11.) Men will not behold the majesty of God in the lives 
of his people ; many a man being too light, yet desirous to go and 
pass for current, weighs himself Avith the best people, and thinks, 
What have they that I have not ? what do they that I do not ? 
And if he see they go beyond him, then he turns his own balance 
w^ith his finger, and makes them too light, that so he himself may 
pass for weight. 

And this vilifying of them and their grace, judging them to 
be of no other metal then other men, appears in three par- 

First. They raise up false reports of God's people, and nourish 
a kennel of evil suspicions of them ; if they know any sin com- 
mitted by them, they will conclude they be all such ; if they 
see no offensive sin in any of them, they are then reputed a pack 
of hypocrites j if they are not so uncharitable, (having no 
grounds,) they prophesy they will hereafter be as bad as others, 
though they carry a fair flourish now. 

Secondly. If they judge well of them, then they compare them- 
selves to them, by taking a scantling only by their outside, and 
by what they see in them ; and so, like children, seeing stars a 
great way off, think them no bigger nor brighter than winking 
candles. They stand afar off from seeing the inside of a child 
of God ; they see not the glory of God filling that temple ; they 
see not the sweet influence they receive from heaven, and that 
fellowship they have with their God ; and hence they judge 
but meanly of them, because the outside of a Christian is the 
worst part of him, and his glory shines chiefly within. 

Thirdly. If they see God's people do excel them, that they 
have better lives, better hearts, and better knowledge, yet they 
will not conclude that they have no grace, because it hath not 
that stamp, that honest men's money hath. But this prank they 
play ; they think such and such good men have a greater measure 
and a higher degree of grace than themselves, yet they dare be 
bold to think and say their hearts are as upright, though they 
be not so perfect as others are ; and so vilify the grace that shines 
in the best men, by making this gold to differ from their own 
copper, not essentially, but gradually, and hence they deceive 
themselves miserably ; not but that one (star or) sincere Christian 
differs from another in glory ; I speak of those men only that 
never were fixed in so high a sphere as true honesty dwells, yet 


falsely father this bad conclusion, that they are upright for their 
measure, that they have not the like measure of grace received 
as others have. 

Sixthly. The understanding's idolatry, whereby the mind sets 
up, and bows down to a false image of grace ; that is, the mind, 
being ignorant of the height and excellency of true grace, takes a 
false scantling of it, and so imagines and fancies, within itself, 
such a measure of common grace to be true grace, which the 
soul easily having attained unto conceives it is in the estate of 
grace, and so deceives itself miserably. (Rom. x. 3.) And the 
mind comes to set up her image thus : — 

First. The mind is haunted and pursued with troublesome fears 
of hell ; conscience tells him he has sinned, and the law tells him 
He shall die, and Death appears, and tells him he must shortly 
meet with him ; and if he be taken away in his sins, then comes 
a black day of reckoning for all his privy pranks, a day of blood, 
horror, judgment, and fire, where no creature can comfort him. 
Hence saith he. Lord, keep my soul from these miseries : he 
hopeth it shall not prove so evil with him, but fears it will. 

Secondly. Hereupon he desireth peace and ease, and some 
assurance of freedom from these evils. For it is a hell above 
ground ever to be on the rack of tormenting fears. 

Thirdly. That he may have ease, he will not swagger his trouble 
away, nor drown it in the bottom of the cup, nor throw^ it away 
with his dice, nor play it away at cards, but desires some grace, 
(and commonly it is the least measure of it too.) Hereupon he 
desires to hear such sermons and read such books as may best 
satisfy him concerning the least measure of grace ; for, sin only 
troubling him, grace only can comfort him soundly. And so, 
grace, which is meat and drink to a holy heart, is but physic to 
this kind of men, to ease them of their fears and troubles. 

Hereupon, being ignorant of the height of true grace, he fancieth 
to himself such a measure of common grace to be true grace. 
As, if he feels himself ignorant of that which troubles him. So 
much knowledge will I then get, saith he. If some foul sins in 
his practice trouble him, these he will cast away, and so reforms. 
If omission of good duties molest him, he will hear better, and 
buy some good prayer book, and pray oftener. And if he be 
persuaded such a man is a very honest nqan, then he will strive 
to do as he doth ; and now he is quieted. 

When he hath attained unto this pitch of his own, now he 

thinks himself a young beginner, and a good one too ; so that if 

he dieth, he thinks he shall do well ; if he liveth, he thinks and 

hopes he shall grow better ; and when he is come to his own 

7* ' ■ 


pitch, he here sets clown his staff, as fully satisfied. And now, if 
he be pressed to get into the estate of grace, his answer is, 
That is not to be done now : he thanks God that care is past. 
The truth is (beloved) it is too high for him ; his own legs could 
never carry him thither, all his grace coming by his own working, 
not by God Almighty's power. Let a man have false weights, 
he is cheated grievously with light gold. Why ? Because his 
weights are too light, so these men have too light weights to judge 
of the weight of true grace ; therefore light, clipped, cracked pieces 
cheat them. Hence you shall have those men commend pithless, 
sapless men, for very honest men as ever break bread. Why ? 
They are just answerable to their weights. Hence I have not much 
wondered at them who maintain that a man may fall away from 
true grace ; the reason lieth her:e : They set up to themselves 
such a common work of grace to be true grace, from which no 
wonder that a man may fall. Hence Bellarmine saith, That 
which is true grace, veritate essentice, only, may be lost ; not that 
grace which is true, veritate JirmcB soliditatis, which latter, being 
rightly understood, may be called special grace, as the other com- 
mon grace. Hence also you shall have many professors hearing 
a hundred sermons never moved to grow better. Hence likewise 
you shall see our common preachers comfort every one, almost, 
that they see troubled in mind, because they think presently, they 
have true grace, now they begin to be sorrowful for their sins. 
It is just according to their own light weights. 

For the Lord's sake take heed of this deceit. True grace (I 
tell you) it is a rare pearl, a glorious sun clouded from the eyes 
of all but them that have it, (Rev. ii. 17 ;) a strange, admirable, 
almighty work of God upon the soul, which no created power 
can produce ; as far different, in the least measure of it, from the 
highest degree of common grace, as a devil is from an angel ; for 
it is Christ living, breathing, reigning, fighting, conquering in 
the soul. Down, therefore, with your idol grace, your idol hon- 
esty ; true grace never aims at a pitch; it aspires only to per- 
fection. (Phil. iii. 12, 13.) And therefore Chrysostom calls St. 
Paul iasatiabilis Dei cultor — a greedy, insatiable worshiper of 
the Lord Almighty. 

Seventhly. The understanding's error is another cause of 
man's ruin. And that is seen principally in these five things, 
these five errors or false conceits : — 

First. In judging some trouble of mind, some light sorrow 
for sin, to be true repentance; and so, thinking they do repent, 
hope they shall be saved. For sin is like sweet poison ; while a 
man is drinking it down- by committing it, there is much pleasure 


in it ; but after the committing of it, there is a sting in it, (Prov. 
xxiii. 31, 32;) then the time cometh when this poison works, 
making the heart swell with grief; sorry they are at the heart, 
they say, for it ; and the eyes drop, and the man that commit- 
ted sin with great delight now cries out with grief in the bit- 
terness of his soul, O that I, beast that I am, had never 
committed it ! Lord, mercy, mercy ! (Prov. v. 3, 4, 11, 12.) Nay, 
it may be they will fast, and humble and afflict their souls 
voluntarily for sin ; and now they think they have repented, 
(Is. Iviii. 3,) and hereupon when they hear that all that sin shall 
die, they grant this is true indeed, except a man repent, and so 
they think they have done already. This is true ; at what time 
soever a sinner repents, the Lord will blot out his iniquity : but 
this repentance is not when a man is troubled somewhat in mind 
for sin, but when he cometh to mourn for sin as his greatest 
evil, and if he should see all his goods and estate on a light fire 
before him ; and that not for some sins, but all sins, little and 
great ; and that not for a time, for a fit and away, (a land flood 
of sorrow,) but always like a spring never dry, but ever running 
all a man's lifetime. 

Secondly. In judging the striving of conscience against sin 
to be the striving of the flesh against the spirit ; and hence come 
these speeches from carnal black mouths ; the spirit is willing, 
but the flesh is weak. And hence men think, they, being thus 
compounded of flesh and spirit, are regenerate, and in no worse 
estate than the children of God themselves. As sometime I 
once spake with a man, that did verily think that Pilate was an 
honest man, because he w^as so unwilling to crucify Christ ; 
which unwillingness did arise only from the restraint of con- 
science against the fact. So, many men judge honestly, yet sim- 
ply, upon such a ground of themselves : they say, they strive 
against their sins, but, Lord be merciful unto them, they say, the 
flesh is frail. And hence Arminius gives a diverse interpreta- 
tion of the seventh chapter to the Romans from ordinary 
divines ; concerning which Paul speaks in the person of an unre- 
generate man, because he observed divers graceless persons (as 
he saith himself) having fallen, and falling commonly into sins 
against conscience, to bring that chapter in their own defense 
and comfort, because they did that w^hich they allowed not, 
(ver. 15,) and so it was not they, but sin that dwelled in them. 

And so many among us know they should be better, and strive 
that they may grow better, but, through the power of sin, can 
not ; conscience tells them they must not sin, their hearts and 
lusts say they must sin ; and here, forsooth, is flesh and spirit. 


O, no, here Is conscience unci lust onl}' by the cars together; which 
striving, Herod, Balaam, Pilate, or the vilest reprobate in the 
world may have. Such a war argueth not any grace in the 
heart, but rather more strength of corruption, and more power 
of sin in the heart ; as it is no wonder if a horse run away w^hen 
he is loose ; but when his bit and his bridle are in his mouth, 
now to be wild, argueth he is altogether untamed and subdued. 
Take heed, therefore, of judging your estate to be good, because 
of some backwardness of your hearts to commit some sins, though 
little sins ; for thy sins may be, and it is most certain are, more 
powerful in thee than in others that have not the like strug- 
glings, because they have not such checks as thou hast to restrain 
thee. Know, therefore, that the striving of the spirit against the 
flesh is against sin because it is sin ; as a man hates a toad, though 
he be never poisoned by it ; but the striving of thy conscience 
against sin is only against sin because it is a troubling or a 
damning sin. The striving of the spirit against the flesh is from 
a deadly hatred of sin. (Rom. vii. 15.) But thy striving of 
conscience against sin is only from a fear of the danger of sin. 
For Balaam had a mind to curse the Israelites, for his money's 
sake ; but if he might have had a house full of silver and gold, 
(which is a goodly thing in a covetous eye,) it is said, he durst 
not curse them. 

Thirdly. In judging of the sincerity of the heart, by some 
good affection in the heart. Hence many a deluded soul reasons 
the case out thus with himself: Either I must be a profane man, or 
a hypocrite, or an upright man. Not profane, I thank God ; for 
I am not given to whoring, drinking, oppression, swearing ; nor 
hypocrite, for I hate these shows, I can not endure to appear bet- 
ter without than I am within ; therefore I am upright. Why ? 
O, because my heart is good ; my alfections and desires within 
are better than my life without ; and whatever others judge of 
me, I know mine own heart, and the heart is all that God desires. 
And thus they fool themselves. (Prov. xxviii. 26.) This is one 
of the greatest causes and grounds of mistake amongst men 
that think best of themselves : they are not able to put a differ- 
ence between the good desires and strong affections that arise 
from the love of Jesus Christ. 

Self-love will make a man seek his own good and safety ; 
hence it will pull a man out of his bed betimes in the morning, 
and call him up to pray ; it will take him and carry him into his 
chamber toward evening, and there privately make him seek, 
and pray, and tug hard for pardon, for Christ, for mercy : Lord, 
evermore give us of this bread ! But the fove of Christ makes 


a man desire Christ and his honor for himself, and all other 
things for Christ. It is true, the desires of sons in Christ by 
faith are accepted ever ; but the desires of servants, men that 
work only for their wages out of Christ, are not. 

Fourthly. In judging of God's love to them, by aiming some- 
times at the glory of God. Is this possible, that a man should 
aim at God's glory, and yet perish ? Yes, and ordinarily too : 
a man may be liberal to the poor, maintain the ministry, be for- 
ward and stand for good things, whence he may not doubt but 
that God loves him : but here is the difference — though a wicked 
man may make God's glory in some particular things his end, 
yet he never makes it, in his general course, his utmost and last 
end. A subtle apprentice may do all his master's work, but he 
may take the gain to himself, or divide it betwixt his master and 
himself, and so may be but a knave, as observant as he seems to 
be : so a subtle heart (yet a villainous heart) may forsake all 
the world, as Judas did, may bind himself apprentice to all the 
duties God requires outwardly at his hands, and so do good 
works ; but what is his last end ? It is that he might gain 
respect or place, or that Christ may have some part of the glory, 
and he another. Simon Magus would give any money some- 
times that he could pray so well, know so much, and do as others 
do ; and yet his last end is for himself : but " how can you believe, 
if you seek not that glory that comes from God ? " saith Christ. 
There is many seek the honor of Christ ; but do you seek his 
honor only ? Is it your last end, where you rest and seek no 
more but that? If thou wouldest know whether thou makest 
Christ's glory thy last end, observe this rule : — 

If thou art more grieved for the eclipse of thine own honor, 
and for thine own losses, than for the loss of God's honor, it is 
an evident sign thou lovest it not, desirest it not as thy chiefest 
good, as the last end, for thy summum honum, and therefore 
dost not seek God's honor in the prime and chiefest place. Sin 
troubled Paul more than all the plagues and miseries of the 
world. Indeed, if thy name be dashed with disgrace, and thy 
will be crossed, thy heart is grieved and disquieted : but the 
Lord may lose his honor daily by thine own sins, and those that 
be round about thee, but not a tear, not a sigh, not a groan to 
behold such a spectacle : as sure as the Lord lives, thou seekest 
not the Lord's name or honor as thy greatest good. 

Fifthly. In judging the power of sin to be but infirmity ; for 
if any thing trouble an unregenerate man, and makes him call 
his estate into question, it is sin, either in the being or power of 
it. Now, sin in the being ought not, must not, make a man 
question his estate, because the best have that left in them that 


will humble them, and make them live by faith ; therefore the 
power of sin only can justly thus trouble a man. Now, if a 
man do judge of this to be only but infirmity, which the best are 
compassed about withal, he can not but lie down securely and think 
himself well. And if this error be settled in one that lives in no 
one known sin, it is very difficult to remove ; for let the minister 
cast the sparks of hell in their faces, and denounce the terror of 
God against them, they are never stirred. Why ? Because they 
think. Here is for you that live in sin, but as for themselves, 
although they have sins, yet they strive against them, and so 
can not leave them ; for we must have sin as long as we live 
here, they say. Now, mark it, there is no surer sign of a man 
under the bloody reign and dominion of his lusts and sins, than 
this — that is, to give way to sin, (though never so little. and com- 
mon,) nor to be greatly troubled for sin, (for they may be a little 
troubled,) because they can not overcome sin. I deny not but the 
best do sin daily ; yet this is the disposition of Paul, and every 
child of God — he mourneth not the less, but the more for sins ; 
though he can not quite subdue them, cast them out, and over- 
come them. As a prisoner mourns the more that he is bound 
with such fetters he can not break, so doth every one truly sensi- 
ble of his woful captivity by sin. This is the great difference 
between a raging sin a man will part withal, and a sin of in- 
firmity a man can not part withal : a sin of infirmity is such a 
sin as a man would, but can not part with it, and hence he 
mourns the more for it ; a raging sin is such a sin as a man, 
haply by virtue of his lashing conscience, would sometimes part 
withal, but can not, and heace mourns the less for it, and gives 
way to it. Now, for the Lord's sake, take heed of this deceit ; 
for I tell you, those sins you can not part withal, if you groan 
not day and night under them, (saying, Lord, h"elp me, for I 
am weary of myself and my life,) will certainly undo you. You 
say, you can not but speak idly, and think vainly, and do ill, 
as all do sometimes ; I tell you, those sins shall be everlasting 
'chains to hold you fast in the power of the devil, until the 
judgment of the great day. 

And thus much of the understanding's corruption, whereby 
men are commonly deluded. Now followeth the second. 

Secondly. In regard of the false, bastard peace begot in the 
conscience. Why should the camp tremble when scouts are 
asleep ? or give false report when the enemies are near them ? 
Most men think they are in a safe estate, because they were 
never in a troubled estate ; or if they have been troubled, because 
they have got some peace and comfort after it. Now, this false 
peace is begot in the heart by these four means : — 


1. By Satan. 

2. By false teachers. 

3. By a false spirit. • 

4. By a false application of true promises. 

I. By Satan, whose kingdom shall fall if it should be divided, 
and be always in a combustion ; hence he laboreth for peace. 
(Luke xi. 24,) "When the strong man keepeth the palace, his 
goods are in peace ; " that is, when Satan, armed with abundance 
of shifts and carnal reasonings, possesseth men's souls, they 
are at peace. Now, look as masters give their servants peace, 
even so the devil. 

1. By removing all things that may trouble them ; and, — 

2. By giving unto them all things that may quiet and com- 
fort them, as meat, drink, rest, lodging, &c., so doth Satan deal 
with his slaves and servants. 

First. By removing those sins which trouble the conscience ; 
for a man may live in a sin, and yet never be troubled for that 
sin ; for sin against the light of conscience only troubles the con- 
science. As children that are tumbling and playing in the dust, 
they are not troubled with all the dust, nay, they take pleasure 
to wallow in it ; but only with that (whether it be small or great) 
that lights in their eyes. And hence that young man came 
boasting to Christ that he had kept all the commandments from 
his youth ; but went away sorrowful, because that dust, that sin 
he lived in with delight before, fell into his eyes, and therefore 
he was troubled. Now, mark the plot of the devil, when he can 
make a man live, and wallow, and delight in his sins, and so 
serve him ; and yet will not suffer him to live in any sin against 
conscience, whereby he should be troubled, and so seek to come 
out of this woful estate, he is sure this man is his own ; and now 
a poor deluded man himself goes up and down, not doubting 
but he shall be saved. Why ? Because their conscience (they 
thank God) is clear, and they know of no one sin they live in, 
they know nothing by themselves that may make them so much 
as suspect their estate is bad. (Matt. ix. 13,) " I came not to 
call the righteous, but sinners, to repentance ; " that is, such a 
one as in his own opinion is fish-whole ; every sin being a child 
of God's sickness, he is never without some kind of sorrow ; but 
some sins only being a natural man's sickness, they being re- 
moved, he recovers out of his former sorrow, and grows well 
again, and thinks himself sound : the Lord Jesus never came to 
save such, therefore Satan keeps possession of them. For the 
Lord's sake, look to this subtlety : many think themselves in a 
good estate, because they know not the particular sin they live 


in ; whereas Satan may have stronger possession of such as 
are bound with his invisible fetters and chains, when those that 
have their pinching bolts on them may sooner escape. 

Secondly. * By giving the soul liberty to recreate itself in any 
sinful course, wherein the eye of conscience may not be pricked 
and wounded. Servants, when they are put always to work, 
and never can go abroad, are weary both of work and master ; 
that master pleaseth them that giveth them most liberty. To be 
pent up all the day long in doing God's work, watching, praying, 
fighting against every sin, this is a burden, this is too strict ; 
and because that they can not endure it, they think the Lord looks 
not for it at their hands. Now, Satan gives men liberty in their 
sinful courses ; and this liberty begets peace, and this peace 
makes them think well of themselves. (2 Pet. ii. 19.) There are 
many rotten professors in these days, that, indeed, will not open 
their mouths against the sincere-hearted people of God ; yet they 
walk loosely, and take too much liberty in their speeches, liberty 
in their thoughts, liberty in their desires and delights, liberty in 
their company, in their pastimes, and that sometimes under a 
pretense of Christian liberty ; and never trouble themselves with 
these needless controversies : To what end, or in what manner, 
do I use these things? Whereas the righteous man feareth 
alway, considering there is a snare for him in every lawful 
liberty : May not I sin in my mirth, in my speaking, in my 
sleeping ? O, this liberty that the devil gives, and the world 
takes, besots most men with a foolish opinion that all is well 
with them. 

Thirdly. By giving the soul good diet, meat and drink 
enough, what dish he likes best. Let a master give liberty, 
yet his servant is not pleased, unless he have meat, and drink, 
and food; so there is no wicked man under heaven, but as he 
takes too much liberty in the use of lawful things, so he feedeth 
his heart with some unlawful secret lust, though all the time he 
live in it, it may be, it is unknown to him. (Luke xvi.) Dives 
had his dish, his good things, and so sang himself asleep, and 
bade his soul take his ease and rest ; yea, observe this : diet is 
poisoned in itself, but ever commended to the soul as wholesome, 
good, and lawful. They christen sin with a new name, as popes 
are at their election ; if he be bad, they call him sometimes Pius ; 
if a coward, Leo, etc. So covetousness is good husbandry ; com- 
pany-keeping, good neighborhood ; lying to save their credit 
from cracking, but a handsome excuse ; and hence the soul goes 
peaceably on, and believes he is in a good estate. 

Fourthly. By giving the soul rest and sleep, that is, cessa- 


tion sometimes from the act of sin ; hence thej are hardly per- 
suaded that they live in sin, because they cease sometimes from 
the act of sin ; as no man doth always swear, nor is he always 
drunk, nor always angry. They think only their falls', in these 
or the like sins, are slips and foils which the best men may have 
sometimes, and yet be a dear child of God. O, Satan will not 
always set men at his work ; for if men should always have 
their cups in their hands, and their queans in their arms ; if a 
covetous man should always root in the earth, and never pray, 
never have good thoughts, never keep any Sabbath ; if a man 
should always speak idly, and never good word drop from him, 
a man's conscience would never be quiet, but shaking him up for 
what he doth ; but by giving him respite for sinning for a time, 
Satan getteth stronger possession afterward; as Matt. xii. 43. 
When the unclean spirit is gone out of a man, it returns worse. 
Samson's strength always remained, and so doth sin's strength 
in a natural man, but it never appears until temptation come. 

Fifthly. By giving the soul fair promises of heaven and eternal 
life, and fastening them upon the heart. Most men are confident 
their estate is good ; and though God kills them, yet will they 
trust in him, and can not be beaten from this. Why ? O, 
Satan bewitcheth them ; for as he told Evah by the serpent, she 
should not die, so doth he insinuate his persuasions to the soul, 
though it live in sin, he shall not die, but do well enough as the 
precisest. Satan gives thus good words, but woful wages — the 
eternal flashes of hell. 

II. By false teachers, who, partly by their loose examples, 
partly by their flattering doctrines in public, and their large 
charity in private, daubing up every one, (especially he that is 
a good friend unto them,) for honest and religious people ; and 
if they be but a little troubled, applying comfort presently, and 
so healing them that should be wounded, and not telling them 
roundly of their Herodias, as John Baptist did Herod. Here- 
upon they judge themselves honest, because the minister will give 
them the beggarly passport ; and so they go out of the world, and 
die like lambs, wofuUy cheated. (Matt. xxiv. 11.) Look abroad 
in the world and see what is the reason so many feed their 
heart with confidence they shall be saved, yet their lives con- 
demn them, and their hearts acquit them. The reason is, such 
and such a minister will go to the alehouse, and he never prays 
in his family, and he is none of these precise, hot people, and yet 
as honest a man as ever lives, and a good divine, too. Ahab was 
miserably cheated by four hundred false prophets. Whilst the 
minister is of a loose life himself, he will wink at others and 

VOL. I. 8 


their faults, lest in reproving others he should condemn him- 
self, and others should say unto him, " Physician, heal thyself." 
Thieves of the same company will not steal from one another, 
lest they trouble thereby themselves. And hence they give 
others false cards to sail by, false rules to live by ; their uncon- 
scionable large charity is like a gulf that swalloweth ships, 
(souls I mean,) tossed with tempests and not comforted. (Is. 
liv. 7, 8.) And hence all being fish that cometh to their net, all 
men think so of themselves. 

III. A false spirit. This is a third cause that begets a false 
peace. As there is a true " Spirit that witnesseth to our spirits 
that we are the sons of God," (Rom. viii. 15,) so there is a false 
spirit, just like the true one, witnessing that they are the sons of 
God, (1 John iv. 1.) We are bid to try the spirits. Now, if these 
spirits were not like God's true Spirit, what need trial ? As, 
what need one try whether dirt be gold, which are so unlike each 
other ? And this spirit I take to be set down, Matt. xxiv. 23. 
Now, look as the true Spirit witnesseth, so the false spirit, being 
like it, witnesseth also. 

First. The Spirit of God humbles the soul ; so before men have 
the witness of the false spirit, they are mightily cast down and 
dejected in spirit, and hereupon they pray for ease, and purpose 
to lead new lives, and cast away the weapons, and submit. 
(Ps. Ixvi. 3.) 

Secondly. The Spirit of God in the gospel reveals Jesus Christ 
and his willingness to save ; so the false spirit discovereth Christ's 
excellency, and willingness to receive him, if he will but come 
in. It fareth with this soul as with surveyors of lands, that take 
an exact compass of other men's grounds, of which they shall 
never enjoy a foot. So did Balaam. (Num. xxiv. 5, 6.) This 
false spirit showeth them the glory of heaven and God's people. 

Thirdly. Hereupon the soul cometh to be affected, and to taste 
the goodness and sweetness of Jesus Christ, as those did, (Heb. 
vi. ;) and the soul breaks out into a passionate admiration : O 
that ever there should be any hope for such a vile wretch as I 
am, and have been ! and so joys exceedingly, like a man half 
way rapt up into heaven. 

Fourthly. Hereupon the soul, being comforted after it was 
wounded, now calleth God my God, and Christ my sweet Saviour ; 
and now it doubts not but it shall be saved. Why ? Because I have 
received much comfort after much sorrow and doubting, (Hos. viii. 
2, 3 ;) and yet remains a deluded, miserable creature still. But 
here mark the difference between the witness of each spirit. The 
false spirit makes a man beheve he is in the state of grace, and 


shall be saved, because he hath tasted of Christ, and so hath 
been comforted, and that abundantly. But the true Spirit per- 
suades a man his estate is good and safe, because he hath not 
only tasted, but bought this Christ, as the wise merchant in the 
gospel, that rejoiced he had found the pearl, but yet stays not 
here, but sells away all, and buys the pearl. Like two chapmen 
that come to buy wine ; the one tastes it, and goeth away in a 
drunken fit, and so concludes it is his ; so a man doth, that hath 
the false spirit ; but the true-spirited man doth not only taste, but 
buys the wine, although he doth not drink it all down when he 
cometh to taste it ; yet he having been incited by tasting to buy it, 
now he calls it his own. So a child of God tasting a little of 
God, and a little of Christ, and a httle of the promises at his first 
conversion, although he tastes not all the sweetness that is in God, 
yet he forsakes all for God, for Christ, and so takes them lawfully 
as his own. 

Again : the false spirit, having given a man comfort and 
peace, suffers a man to rest in that state ; but the true Spirit, 
having made the soul taste the love of the Lord, stirreth up the 
soul to do and work mightily for the Lord. Now the soul crieth 
out. What shall I do for Christ, that hath done wonders for me ? 
If every hair on my head were a tongue to speak of his good- 
ness, it were too Httle. (Neh. viii. 10,) " The joy of the Lord is 
our strength." (Ps. li. 12,) "Uphold me with thy free spirit;" 
or, as the Chaldean paraphrase hath it, thy " kingly spirit ; " the 
spirit of adoption in God's child is no underling, suffering men 
to lie down, and cry. My desires are good, but flesh is frail. No, 
it is a kingly spirit, that reigns where it liveth. 

IV. False applying of true promises is the last cause of false 
peace. And when a man hath God's Spirit within, and God's 
hand and promise (as he thinks) for his estate, now he thinks all 
safe. This did the Jews ; they said, " We have Abraham to our 
Father ; " and so reputed themselves safe, God having made them 
promise, " I will be a God of thee and of thy seed." But here is 
a difference between a child of God's application of them and a 
■wicked man's. The first applieth them so to him, as that he 
liveth upon them, and nothing but them ; and to whom doth the 
dug belong, but to the child that lives upon it ? The other hves 
upon his lusts, and creatures, and yet catcheth hold on the promise. 

By these four means is begot a bastard, false peace. 

Thus much of the second cause of man's deceiving himself — 
false peace in the conscience. 

Now followeth the third. 

III. The corruptions and distempers of the will, which is the 


third cause why men deceive themselves ; which are many. I 
will only name three. 

First. When the will is resolved to go on in a sinful course, 
and then sets the understanding a-work to defend it. Whence it 
fareth with the soul as with a man that cometh to search for 
stolen goods, who, having received a bribe beforehand, searcheth 
every where but where it is, and so the man is never found out 
to be what he is. So a man having tasted the sweetness of a 
sinful course, (which pleasure bribes him,) he is contented to 
search into every corner of his heart, and to try himself, as many^ 
do, except there where his darling lust lies ; he sits upon that, 
and covers it willingly from his own eyes, as Rachel did upon 
stolen gods, and so never finds out himself. (John iii. 20,) A 
man that hath a mind to sleep quietly, will cause the curtains 
to be drawn, and will let some light come in, but shuts out all 
that, or so much as may hinder him from sleeping ; so a man, 
having a mind to sleep in some particular sinful course at his 
ease, will search himself, and let some light come into his mind. 

And hence many profane persons, that know much, (their 
opinions are orthodox, their discourse savory,) yet do they know 
little of themselves, and of those sins and lusts that haunt them, 
which they must part with ; because this light troubleth them, it 
hinders them from sleeping in their secure estate, and therefore 
they draw the curtain here. Hence many men, that live in 
those sins of the grossest usury, finding the gain, and tasting the 
sweet of that sin, will read all books, go to all those ministers 
they suppose that hold it lawful, and so pick up and gather 
reasons to defend the lawfulness of the sin, and so, because they 
would not have it to be a sin, find out reasons whereby they 
think it no sin; but the bottom is this — their will hath got the 
bribe, and now the understanding plays the lawyer ; and hence 
men live in the most crying sins, and are sure to perish, because 
they will not know they are in an error. 

Secondly. When the will sets the understanding a-work to ex- 
tenuate and lessen sin ; for many, when they see their sins, yet 
make it small by looking at the false end of their optic glass ; 
they think such small matters never make any breach between 
the Lord and their souls. Hence they say, The best man sins 
seven times a day ; and who can say, My heart is clean ? What 
is the reason that a child of God hath little peace, many times 
after commission of small sins ? O, it is because they see the 
horrible nature of the least sin ; small wrongs against so dear, so' 
great a friend as the Lord is, it cuts their hearts ; yet a carnal 
heart is never troubled for great sins, because thej make a light 
matter of them. 


Thirdly. Willful ignorance of the horrible wrath of God. 
Hence men rush on in sin as the horse into the battle. Hence 
men never fear their estates, because they know not God's wrath 
hanging over them. Coldest snakes, when they are frozen with 
cold, never sting nor hurt ; one may carry a nest of them in his 
bosom ; but bring them to the fire, then they hiss and sting : so 
sin, when it is brought near God's wrath, (that devouring fire,) it 
makes men cry out of themselves, Then I am undone ! 0, I am 
a lost creature ! But being not thus heated, sin never makes a 
man cry out of himself. 

These are the causes why men are ignorant of their woful, 
miserable estate ; which ignorance is the first rock, or the first 
powder plot, that spoils thousands. 

Yet there are three more dangerous, because more secret. 

Now foUoweth the second reason of man's ruin. By reason 
of man's carnal security, whereby men can not be aflfected with, 
nor so much as have hearts to desire to come out of their misery 
when they know it ; for, if a man's mind understand his misery, 
yet if the heart be hard or sleepy, and not atfected, loaded, 
wounded, humbled, and made to groan under it, he will never 
greatly care to come out of it. (Is. xxix. 9, 10.) Now, this is 
the estate of many a soul ; he doth know his misery, but by rea- 
son of the sleepy, secure, senseless spirit of slumber, he never 
feels it, nor mourns under it, and so comes not out of it. 

Now the reasons of this security are these : — 

Because God pours not out the full measure of his wrath upon 
men, because he kindles not the pile of wrath that lies upon 
men, it is reserved, and concealed, not revealed from Heaven ; 
and so long, let God frown, ministers threaten, and smaller judg- 
ments drop, yet they will never seek shelter in Jesus Christ, 
but sleep in their sins, until God rain down floods of horror, 
blood, fire ; until God's arrows stick in men's hearts, they will 
never seek out of themselves unto Jesus Christ. (Eccl. viii. 11.) 
So long as God's plagues were upon Pharaoh, he giveth fair 
words, and Moses must be sent to pray for him ; but when God's 
hand is taken away, now Pharaoh's heart is hardened : so long 
as God's sword is in his scabbard, men have such stout hearts 
that they will never yield ; God must wound, and cut deep, and 
stab, and thrust to the very heart, else men will never yield, 
never awaken, till God's fists be about men's ears, and he is drag- 
ging them to the stake ; men will never awake and cry for a 
pardon and deliverance of their woful estate. 

Secondly. Because if they do in part feel, and so fear God's 
wrath, they put away the evil day far from them ; they hope 
. 8* 


they shall clo better hereafter, and repent some other time, and 
therefore they say. Soul, eat, drink, follow thy sports, cups, 
queans ; thou hast a treasure of time which shall not be spent in 
many years, (Is. xxii. 12, 13;) that look as it is with the wax, 
let it be of never so pliable a disposition, and the fire never so 
hot, yet if it be not brought near the fire, and be held in the fire, 
it never melts, but still remains hard ; so it is here. Let a man 
or woman have never so gentle or pliable a nature, and let God's 
wrath be never so hot and dreadful in their judgments, yet if 
they make not the day of wrath present to them, if they see it 
not ready every moment to hght upon their hearts, they are 
never melted, but they remain hard hearted, secure, sleepy 
wretches, and never groan to come out of their woful estate ; 
and this is the reason why many men, that have guilty con- 
sciences, though they have many secret wishes and purposes to 
be better, yet never cry out of themselves, nor ever seek ear- 
nestly for mercy, till they lie upon their death beds ; and then, 
O the promises they ply God with ! Try me, Lord, and re- 
store me once more to my health and life again, and thou shalt 
see how thankful I will be ! because that now they apprehend 
wrath and misery near unto them. (Heb. iii. 13.) 

Thirdly. Because they think they can bear God's wrath, 
though they do conceive it near at hand, even at the very doors ; 
men think not that hell is so hot, nor the devil so black, nor God 
so terrible as indeed he is. And hence we shall observe the 
prophets present God's wrath as a thing intolerable before the 
eyes of the people, that thereby they might quench all those 
cursed conceits of being able to bear God's wrath. (Nahum i. 9.) 
And hence we shall have many men desperately conclude they 
will have their swing in sin, and if they perish, they hope they 
shall be able to bear it ; it is but a damning they think, and 
hence they go on securely. O, poor M'retches ! the devil scares 
and fears all the world, and at God's wrath the devils quake, and 
yet secure men fear it not, they think hell is not so terrible a place. 

Fourthly. Because they know no better an estate. Hence, 
though they feel their woful and miserable condition, yet they 
desire not to come out of it. Although men find hard lodging 
in the world, hard times, hard friends, hard hearts, yet they 
make a shift with what they find in this miserable inn, until they 
come to hell ; for such a man, pursued by outward miseries, or 
inward troubles, there stays ; O, miserable man, that makes shift 
till he come to hell I They may hear of the happy estate of 
God's people, but not knowing of it experimentally, they stay 
where they are. (Job iv. 14.) 


Take a prince's child, and brinj^ it up in a base house and 
place, it never aspires after a kingdom or crown ; so men hatched 
in this world, knowing no better an estate, never cast about them 
to get a better inheritance than that they scramble for here. 
Wives mourn for the long absence of their beloved husbands, 
because they know them and their worth. God may absent 
himself from men weeks, months, years, but men shed not one 
tear for it, because they never tasted the sweetness of his pres- 
ence. It is strange to see men take more content in their cups 
and cards, pots and pipes, dogs and hawks, than in the fellowship 
of God and Christ, in word, in prayer, in meditation ; wdiich or- 
dinances are burdens and prison unto them. What is the reason 
of it ? Is there no more sweetness in the presence of God's 
smiling in Christ than in a filthy whore ? Yes ; but they know 
not the worth, sweetness, satisfying goodness of a God. Some 
sea fish, (say they,) if once they come into fresh water, will never 
return again, because they now taste a difference between those 
brackish and sweet waters : so is it here ; if men did but once 
taste the happiness of God's people, they would not for a thou- 
sand worlds be one half hour in their wild, loose sea again. 

Fifthly. Because, if they do know a better estate, yet their 
present pleasures, their sloth, doth so bewitch them, and God's 
denials, when they seek unto him, do so far discourage them, that 
they sleep still securely in that estate. A slothful heart, be- 
witched with present ease, and pleasures, and delights, consider- 
ing many a tear, many a prayer must it make, many a night 
must it break its sleep, many a weary step must it take towards 
heaven and Christ, if ever it come there, grows discouraged, and 
deaded, and hard-hearted in a sleepy estate, and had rather have 
a bird in the hand than two in the bush ; Israelites wished that 
they were at their onions and garlic again in Egypt. Was 
there no Canaan ? Yes ; but they wished so because there were 
walls built up to heaven, and giants, sons of Anak, in the land, dif- 
ficulties to overcome. O, slothful hearts ! Secondly. Because 
God sometimes put them to straits, and denied them what they 
sought for, they were of such a waspish, testy, sullen spirit, that, 
because the Lord had them not always on his knees, they would 
run away ; so many a man meets with sorrow enough in his sin- 
ful, dropsy, drunken estate ; he hears of Heaven, and a better 
estate, yet why goes he to his lusts and fiesh pots again ? O, 
because there are so many difficulties, and blocks, and hinderances 
in his way ; and because they pray and find not ease, therefore 
they eat, drink, laugh, sport, and sleep in their miserable estate 
still. (Matt. vii. 14.) Therefore men walk in the broad way, 


because the other way to life is strait and narrow ; it is a plague, 
a burden, a prison, to be so strict ; men had rather sit almost an 
hour in the stocks than be an hour at prayer ; men had rather 
be damned at last than sweftt it out and run through the race to 
receive a crown ; and hence men remain secure. 

Sixthly. Because of the strange, strong power of sin, which 
bears that sway over men's souls that they must serve it, as 
prisoners stoop to their jailers, as soldiers that have taken their 
pay, their pleasure of sin, must follow it as their captain, though 
they go marching on to eternal ruin ; nay, though doomsday 
should be to-morrow, yet they must and will serve their lusts. 
As the Sodomites, when they were smitten with blindness, which 
tormented their eyes as though they had been pricked with 
thorns, (for so the Hebrew word signifies,) even when destruction 
was near, they groped for the door. Men can not but sin, though 
they perish for sin ; hence they remain secure. 

Seventhly. Despair of God's mercy : hence, like Cain, men 
are renegades from the face of God ; men think they shall never 
find mercy when all is done ; hence they grow desperately sin- 
ful ; like those Italian senators, that, despairing of their lives, 
when upon submission they had been promised their lives, yet, 
being conscious of their villainy, made a curious banquet, and at 
the end of it every man drank up his glass of poison, and killed 
himself; so men feeling such horrible hard hearts, and being 
privy to such notorious sins, they cast away lives, and heaven, 
and soul for lost, and so perish wofully, because they lived des- 
perately, and so securely. 

Eighthly. Because men nourish a blind, false, flattering hope 
of God's mercy : hence many knowing and suspecting that all is 
naught with them, yet having some hope they may be in a good 
estate, and God may love them, hence they lie down securely, 
and rest in their flattering hope. Hence observe, those people 
that seldom come to a conclusion, to a point, that either they are 
in the state of grace or out of it, that never come to be aifected, 
but remain secure in their condition, they commonly grow to this 
desperate conclusion : that they hope God will be merciful unto 
them ; if not, they can not help it ; like the man that had on his 
target the picture of God and the devil ; under the first he 
wrote, Si tu non vis, if thou wilt not ; under the other he wrote, 
Ipse 7'ogitat, here is one will. 

Ninthly. Because men bring not their hearts under the ham- 
mer of God's word to be broken, they never bring their con- 
sciences to be cut. Hence they go on still securely with festered 
consciences. Men put themselves above the word, and their 


hearts above the hammer ; they come not to have the minister 
to humble them, but to judge of him, or to pick some pretty fine 
thing out of the word, and so remain secure sots all their days : 
for if ever thy heart be broken, and thy conscience be awaked, 
the word must do it ; but people are so sermon-trodden, that their 
hearts, like footpaths, grow hard by the word. 

Tenthly. Because men consider not of God's wrath daily, 
nor the horrible nature of sin ; men chew not these pills : hence 
they never come to be affected nor awakened. 

Awaken, therefore, all you secure creatures ; feel your misery, 
that so you may get out of it. Dost thou know thine estate is 
naught, and that thy condemnation will be fearful, if ever thou 
dost perish? and is thine heart secretly secure, so damnably 
dead, so desperately hard, that thou hast no heart to come out 
of it ? What ! no sigh, no tears ? Canst thou carry all thy sins 
upon thy back, like Samson the gates of the city, and make a 
light matter of them ? Dost thou see hell fire before thee, and 
yet wilt venture ? Art thou worse than a beast which we can not 
beat nor drive into the fire if there be any way to escape ? O, 
get thy heart to lament and mourn under thy miseries ; who 
knows then but the Lord may pity thee ? But O, hard heart ! 
thou canst mourn for losses and crosses, burning of goods and 
houses, yet though God be lost, and his image burnt down, and 
all is gone, thou canst not mourn. If thine heart w'ere truly 
affected, the pillow would be washed with thy tears, and the 
"w^ife in thy bosom would be witness of thy heart-breakings in 
midnight for those sins which have grieved the Spirit of God 
many a time ; thou couldst not sleep quietly nor comfortably with- 
out assurance. If you were sick to death, physicians should 
hear how you do ; and if you were humbled, we should have 
you in the bitterness of your spirit cry out, " What shall we 
do ? " But know it, thou must mourn here or in hell. If God 
broke David's bones for his adultery, and the angels' backs for 
their pride, the Lord, if ever he saves thee, will break thine 
heart too. 

Question. But thou wilt say. How shall I do to get mine heart 
affected with my misery ? 

Answer. 1. Take a full view of thy misery. 2. Take spe- 
cial notice of the Lord's readiness and willingness to receive 
thee yet unto mercy; for two things harden the heart: 1. False 
hope, whereby a man hopes he is not so bad as indeed he is. 
2. No hope, whereby a man, when he sees himself so notoriously 
bad, thinks there is no willingness in the Lord to pardon or re- 
ceive such a monster of men to mercy ; and, if neither the ham- 


mer can break thy stony heart, nor the sunshine of mercy melt 
it, thou hast a heart worse than the devil, and art a spectacle of 
the greatest misery, 1. In regard of sin. 2. In regard of 
God's wrath. 

First. In regard of sin. Thou hast sinned, and that griev- 
ously, against a great God. Thou makest no great matter of 
this : no ; but, though it be no load to thee, it is load on the 
Lord's heart, (Is. i. 24,) and time will come he Avill make the 
whole sinful world, by rivers of fire and blood, to know what an 
evil it is ; for, — 

1. In every sin thou dost strike God, and fling a dagger at 
the heart of God. 2. In every sin thou dost spite against God ; 
for, if there were but one only thing wherein a man could do 
his friend a displeasure, was not here spite seen if he did that 
thing ? Now tell me, hath not the Lord been a good friend unto 
thee ? Tell me, wherein hath he grieved thee ? and tell me, in 
what one thing canst thou please the devil, and do God a dis- 
pleasure, but by sin ? Yet, O hard heart, thou makest nothing 
of it. But consider, thirdly, in every sin thou dost disthrone 
God, and settest thyself above God ; for, in every sin, this ques- 
tion is put. Whose will shall be done, God's will or man's ? 
Now, man by sin sets his own will above the Lord's, and so kicks 
God (blessed forever, adored of millions of saints and angels) as 
filth under his feet. What, will this break your hearts ? 

Consider, then, of God's wrath, the certainty of it, the un- 
supportableness of it, — how that, dying in thy sins and secure 
estate, it shall fall ; for, when men cry, Peace, peace, then com- 
eth sudden destruction at unawares. Pray-, therefore, to God to 
reveal this to thee, that thine heart may break under it. Sec- 
ondly, consider the Lord's mercy and readiness to save thee, w^ho 
hath prepared mercy, and entreats thee to take it, and waiteth 
every day for thee to that end. 

Tlie third reason of man's ruin is that carnal confidence, 
whereby men seek to save themselves, and to scramble out of 
their miserable estate by their own duties and performances, 
when they do feel themselves miserable. The soul doth as those 
(Hos. V. 13) men when they be wounded and troubled: they 
never look after Jesus Christ, but go to their own waters to heal 
themselves, like hunted harts when the arrow is in them. (Rom. 
ix. 31, 32.) 

For the opening of this point, I shall show you these two 
things : — 

1. Wherein this resting in duties appears. 

2. Why do men rest in themselves ? 


First. This resting in duties appears in these eleven de- 
grees : — 

1. The soul of a poor sinner, if ignorantly bred and brought 
up, rests confidently in superstitious vanities. Ask a devout 
Papist how he hopes to be saved ; he will answer, by his good 
works. But inquire, further, What are these good works ? 
Why, for the most part, superstitious ones of their own inven- 
tions, (for the crow thinks her own bird fairest,) as whipping 
themselves, pilgrimage, fasting, mumbling over their Paternosters, 
bowing down to images and crosses. 

2. Now, these being banished from the church and kingdom, 
then men stand upon their titular profession of the true religion, 
although they be devils incarnate in their lives. Look up and 
down the kingdom ; you shall see some roaring, drinking, dicing, 
carding, whoring, in taverns and blind alehouses; otliers belch- 
ing out their oaths, their mouths ever casting out, like raging 
seas, filthy, frothy speeches ; others, like Ismaels, scoffing at 
the best men ; yet these are confident they shall be saved. Why, 
(say they,) they are no Papists ; hang them, they will die for 
their religion, and rather burn than turn again, by the grace of 
God. Thus the Jews boasted they were Abraham's seed ; so 
our carnal people boast : Am not I a good Protestant ? Am not I 
baptized ? Do I not live in the church ? and therefore, resting 
here, hope to be saved. I remember a judge, when one pleaded 
once with him for his life, that he might not be hanged because 
he was a gentleman ; he told him that therefore he should have 
the gallows made higher for him : so when thou pleadest, I 
am a Christian and a good Protestant, (yet thou wilt drink, and 
swear, and whore, neglect prayer, and break God's Sabbath,) 
and therefore thou hopest to be saved ; I tell thee thy condem- 
nation shall be greater, and the plagues in hell the heavier. 

3. If men have no peace here, then they fly to, and rest in, 
the goodness of their insides. You will have many a man, 
whom, if you follow to his chamber, you shall find very devout ; 
and they pray heartily for the mercy of God, and forgiveness 
of sins ; but follow them out of their chambers, watch their dis- 
courses, you shall find it frothy and vain, and now and then 
powdered with faith and troth, and obscene speeches. Watch 
them when they are crossed, you shall see them as angry as 
wasps, and swell like turkeys, and so spit out their venom like 
dragons. Watch them in their journeys, and you shall see them 
shoot into an alehouse, and there swill and swagger, and be fa- 
miliar with the scum of the country for profaneness, and half 
drunk, too, sometimes. Watch them on the Lord's day ; take 


them out of the church once, and set aside their best clothes, 
and they are then the same as at another time ; and, because ' 
thej must not work nor sport that day, they think they may I 
with a good conscience sleep the longer on the morning. Ask, I 
now, such men how they hope to be saved, seeing their lives are I 
so bad ; they say, though they make not such shows, they know 
what good prayers they make in private ; their hearts, they say, 
are good. I tell ye, brethren, he that ti-usteth to his own heart 
and his good desires, and so resteth in them, is a fool. I have 
heard of a man that would haunt the taverns, and theaters, and 
whore houses at London all day ; but he durst not go forth 
without private prayer in a morning, and then would say, at his 
departure, Now, devil, do thy worst ; and so used his prayers 
(as many do) only as charms and spells against the poor, weak, 
cowardly devil, that they think dares not hurt them, so long 
as they have good hearts within them, and good prayers in 
their chambers ; and hence they will go near to rail against the . 
preacher as a harsh master, if he do not comfort them with 1 
this — that God accepts of their good desires. ^ 

4. If their good hearts can not quiet them, but conscience tells 
them they are unsound without, and rotten at core within, then 
men fall upon reformation ; they will leave their whoring, drink- 
ing, cozening, gaming, company-keeping, swearing, and such 
like roaring sins ; and now all the country saith he is become a 
new man, and he himself thinks he shall be saved ; (2 Pet. ii. 
20 ;) they escape the pollutions of the world, as swine that are 
escaped and washed from outward filth ; yet the swinish nature 
remains still ; like mariners that are going to some dangerous 
place, ignorantly, if they meet with storms, they go not back- 
ward, but cast out their goods that endanger their ship, and so go 
forward still ; so many a man, going toward hell, is forced to 
cast out his lusts and sins ; but he goeth on in the same way still 
for all that. The wildest beasts, (as stags,) if they be kept 
waking from sleep long, will grow tame ; so conscience giving a 
man no rest for some sins he liveth in, he groweth tame : he that 
was a wild gentleman before remains the same man still, only he 
is made tame now ; that is, civil and smooth in his whole 
course ; and hence they rest in reformation, which reformation 
is, commonly, but from some troublesome sin, and it is because 
they think it is better following their trade of sin at another mar- 
ket ; and hence some men will leave their drinking and whoring, 
and turn covetous, because there is more gain at that market ; 
sometimes it is because sin hath left them, as an old man. 

5. If they can have no rest here, they get into another start- 


ing hole : they go to their humiliations, rcpentings, tears, sor- 
rows, and confessions. They hear a man can not be saved by 
reforming his life, unless he come to afflict his soul too ; he must 
sorrow and weep here, or else cry out in hell hereafter. Here- 
upon they betake themselves to their sorrows, tears, confession 
of sins ; and now the wind is down, and the tempest is over, and 
they make themselves safe. (Matt. xi. 1.) They would have 
repented ; that is, the heathen, as Beza speaks, when any wrath 
was kindled from Heaven, they would go to their sackcloth and 
sorrows, and so thought to pacify God's anger again ; and here 
they rested. So it is with many a man ; many people have sick 
fits and qualms of conscience, and then they do as crowds, that 
give themselves a vomit by swallowing down some stone when 
they are sick, and then they are well again ; so when men are 
troubled for their sins, they will give themselves a vomit of 
prayer, a vomit of confession and humiliation. (Is. Iviii. 5.) 
Hence many, when they can get no good by this physic, by their 
sorrows and tears, cast off all again ; for, making these things 
their God and their Christ, they forsake them when they can not 
save them. (Matt. iii. 14.) More are driven to Christ by the 
sense of the burden of a hard, dead, blind, filthy heart than by 
the sense of sorrows, because a man rests in the one, viz., in 
sorrows, most commonly, but trembles and flies out of him- 
self when he feels the other. Thus men rest in their re- 
pentance ; and therefore Austin hath a pretty speech which 
sounds harsh, that repentance damneth more than sin ; meaning 
that thousands did perish by resting in it ; and hence we see, 
among many people, if they have large affections, they think 
they are in good favor ; if they want them, they think they are 
castaways, when they can not mourn nor be affected as once they 
were, because they rest in them. 

6. If they have no rest here, then they turn moral men ; that 
is, strict in all the duties of the moral law, which is a greater 
matter than reformation or humiliation ; that is, they grow very 
just and square in their dealings with men, and exceeding strict 
in the duties of the first table toward God, as fasting, prayer, 
hearing, reading, observing the Sabbath : and thus the Pharisees 
lived, and hence they are called " the strict sect of the Phari- 
sees." Take heed you mistake me not ; I speak not against 
strictness, but against resting in it ; for except your righteous- 
ness exceed theirs, you shall not enter into the kingdom of 
heaven. You shall find these men fly from base persons and 
places, like the pest houses, commend the best books, cry down 
the sins of the time, and cry against civil or moral men, (the 
VOL. I. 9 


eye sees not itself,) and cry up zeal and for^Yardness. Talk 
with him about many moral duties that are to be done toward 
God or man, he will speak well about the excellency and neces- 
sity of it, because his trade and skill, whereby he hoj^es to get 
his living and earn eternal life, lieth there; but speak about 
Christ, and living by faith in him and from him, and bottoming 
the soul upon the promises, (pieces of evangelical righteous- 
ness,) he that is very skillful in any ponnt of controversy is as 
ignorant almost as a beast, when he is examined here. Hence, 
if ministers preach against the sins of the time, they commend it 
for a special sermon, (as it haply deserves, too ;) but let him 
speak of any spiritual, inward, soul-w^orking points, they go away 
and say he was in their judgment confused and obscure ; for 
their part they understood him not. (Beloved.) pictures are 
pretty things to look on, and that is all the goodness of them ; so 
these men are, (as Christ looked on and loved the natural young 
man in the gospel,) and that is all their excellency. You know, 
in Noah's flood, all that were not in the ark, though they did 
climb and get to tlie top of the tallest mountains, they were 
drowned ; so labor to climb never so high in morality, and the 
duties of both tables, if thou goest not into God's ark, the Lord 
Jesus Christ, thou art sure to perish eternally. 

7. If they have no rest here in their morality, they grow hot 
within, and turn marvelous zealous for good causes and courses ; 
and there they stay and warm themselves at their own fire : thus 
Paul (Phil. iii. 6) was zealous, and there rested. They will 
not live, as many do, like snails in their shells, but rather than 
they will be damned for want of doing, they are content to give 
away their estate, children, any thing almost, to get pardon for 
the sin of their soul. (Micali vi. 7.) 

8. If they find no help from hence, but are forced to see and 
say, when they have dons all, they are unprofitable servants, and 
they sin in all that which they do, then they rest in that which 
is like to evangelical obedience ; they think to please God by 
mourning for their failings in their good duties, desiring to be 
better, and promising for the time to come to be so, and therein 
rest. (Deut. v. 29.) 

9. If they feel a want of all these, then they dig within them- 
selves for power to leave sin^poAver to be more holy and humble, 
and so think to work out themselves, in time, out of this estate, 
and so they dig for pearls in their own dunghills, and will not be 
beholding to the Lord Jesus ; to live on him in tlie want of all ; 
they think to set up themselves out of tlieir awn stock, without 
Jesus Christ, and so, as the prophet Hosea speaks, (xiv. 3, 4,) 


think to save themselves, by their riding on horses, tlmt is, by 
their own abilities. 

10. If they feel no help here, then they go unto Christ for 
grace and power to leave sin and do better, whereby they may 
save themselves ; and so they live upon Christ, that they may 
live of themselves ; they go unto Christ, they get not into Christ, 
(Ps. Ixxviii. 34, 35,) like hirelings that go for power to do their 
work, that they may earn theu' wages. A child of God contents 
himself with, and lives upon, the inheritance itself the Lord in 
his free mercy hath given him. But now we shall see many 
poor Christians that run iu the very road the Pa];)ists devoutly 
go to hell in. 

First. The Papist will confess his miseiy, that he is (and all 
men are) by nature a child of wrath, and under the power of sin 
and Satan. 

Secondly. They hold Chirst is the only Saviour. 

Thirdly. That this salvation is not by any righteousness in a 
Christ, but ri^iteousness from a Christ, only by giving a man 
power to do, and then dipping men's doings in his blood, he 
merits their life. Thus the wisest and devotest of them pro- 
fess, as I am able to manifest ; just so do many Christians live. 
First. They feel themselves full of sin, and are sometimes tired 
and weary of themselves, for their vile hearts, and they find no 
power to help themselves. Secondly. Hereupon hearing that 
only Christ can save them, they go unto Christ to remove these 
sins that tire them, and load them, that he would enable them to 
do better than formerly. Thirdly. If they get these sins subdued 
and removed, and if they find power to do better, then they 
hope they shall be saved : whereas thou mayest be damned, and 
go to the devil at the last, although thou dost escape all the pol- 
lutions of the world, and that not from thyself and strength, but 
from the knowledge of Jesus Christ. (2 Pet. ii. 20.) I say, woe 
to you forever if you die in this estate ; it is with our Christians 
in this case as it is with the ivy, which clasps and groweth about 
the tree, and draws sap from the tree, but it grows not one with 
the tree, because it is not ingraffed into the tree "; so many a soul 
cometh to Christ, to suck juice from Christ to maintain his own 
berries, (his own stock of grace :) alas ! he is but ivy, he is no 
member or branch of this tree, and hence he never grows to be 
one with Christ. 2. Now, the reasons why men rest in their 
duties are these : — 

First. Because it is natural to a man out of Christ to do so. 
Adam and all his posterity were to be saved by his doing : " Do 
this and live ; '* work, and here is thy wages ; win life, and wear it. 


Hence all his posterity seeks to this day to be saved by doing ; 
like father, like son. Now, to come out of all duties truly to a 
Christ, hath not so much as a coat in innocent, much less cor- 
rupted nature ; hence men seek to themselves. Now, as it is 
with a bankrupt, when his stock is spent, and his estate cracked, 
before he will turn prentice, or live upon another, he will turn 
peddler of small wares, and so follow his old trade with a less 
stock : so men naturally follow their old trade of doing, and hope 
to get their living that way ; and hence men, having no ex- 
perience of trading with Christ by faith, live of themselves. 
Samson, when all his strength was lost, would go to shake him- 
self as at other times : so when men's strength is lost, and God 
and grace are lost, yet men will go and try how they can live 
by shifts and working for themselves still. 

Secondly. Because men are ignorant of Jesus Christ and his 
righteousness ; hence men can not go unto him, because they 
see him not ; hence they shift as well as they can for themselves 
by their duties. (John iv. 14.) Men seek to save themselves by 
their own swimming, when they see no cable cast out to help them. 

Thirdly. Because this is the easiest way to comfort the heart, 
and pacify conscience, and to please God, as the soul thinks; 
because by this means a man goes no farther than himself. 

Now, in forsaking all duties, a soul goeth to heaven quite out 
of himself, and there he must wait many a year, and that for a 
little, it may be. Now, if a fainting man have aqua vitce at his 
bed's head, he will not knock up the shopkeeper for it. Men 
that have a balsam of their own to heal them will not go to the 

Fourthly. Because by virtue of these duties a man may hide 
his sin, and live quietly in his sin, yet be accounted an honest 
man, as the wdiore in Prov. vii. 15, IG, having performed her 
vows, can entice without suspicion of men or check of con- 
science : so the scribes and Pharisees were horribly covetous, 
but their long prayers covered their deformities, (Matt, xxiii. 14 ;) 
and hence men set their duties at a higher rate than they are 
worth, thinking they shall save them because they are so useful 
to them. Good duties, hke new apparel on a man pursued with 
hue and cry of conscience, keep him from being known. 

Take heed of resting in duties ; good duties are men's money, 
without which they think themselves poor and miserable ; but 
take heed that you and your money perish not together. (Gal. 
v. 3.) The paths to hell are but two. The first is the path of 
sin, which is a dirty way. Secondly, the path of duties, which 
(rested in) is but a clearer way. When the Israelites were 


in distress, (Judg. x. 14,) the Lord bids them go to the gods 
they served : so wlieii thou slialt lie howling on thy death bed, 
the Lord will say. Go unto the good prayers and performances 
you have made, and the tears you have shed. O, they will be 
miserable comforters at that day. 

Ohjection. But I think thou wilt say, no true Christian man 
hopes to be saved by his good works and duties, but only by the 
mercy of God and merits of Christ. 

Answer. It is one thing to trust to be saved by duties, another 
thing {(3 rost in duties. A man trusts unto them when he is of 
this opinion, that only good duties can save him. A man rests 
in duties when he is of this opinion, that oidy Christ can save 
him, but in his practice he goetli about to save himself. The 
wisest of the Papists are so at this day, and so are our common 
Protestants. And this is a great subtlety of the heart, that is, 
when a m.Mx thinks he can not be saved by his good works and 
duties, but only by Christ : he then hopeth, because he is of this 
opinion, that when he hath done all he is an unprofitable servant; 
(which is only an act or work of the judgment informed aright ;) 
that, therefore, because he is of this opinion, he shall be saved. 

But because it is hard For to know when a man rests in duties, 
and few men find themselves guilty of this sin, which ruins so 
many, I will show two things : t*- 

1. The signs of a man's resting in duties. 

2. The insufficiency of all duties to save men ; that so those 
that be found guilty of this sin may not go on in it. 

First. For the signs w^hergby a man may certainly know, when 
he rests in his duties, which if he do, (as few professors especially 
but they do,) he perisheth eternally. 

First. Those that yet never saw they rested in them, they that 
never found it a hard matter to come out of their duties. For it 
is most natural for a man to stick in them, because nature sets 
men «pon duties; hence it is a hard matter to come out of resting 
in duties. For two things keep a man from Christ : — 

1. Sin. 2. Self. Now, as a man is broken off from sin by seeing 
and feeling it, and groaning under the power of it, so is a man 
broken from himself. For men had rather do any thing than 
come unto Christ, there is such a deal of self in them ; therefore, 
if thou hast no experience, that at no time thou hast rested too 
much in thy duties, and then didst groan to be delivered from 
these entanglements, (I mean not from the doing of them, — this is 
familism and profaneness, — but from resting in the bare perform- 
ance of them,) thou dost rely upon thy duties to this day. 

These rest in duties, that prize the bare performance of duties 


wonderfully ; for those duties that carry thee out of thyself unto 
Christ make thee to prize Christ. Now, tell me, dost thou glory 
in thyself? Now I am somebody. I was ignorant, forgetful, hard- 
hearted ; now I understand, and remember better, and can 
sorrow for my sins : if thou dost rest here, thy duties never 
carried thee farther than thyself. Dost thou think, after that 
thou hast prayed with some life. Now I have done very well, and 
now thou dost verily think (meaning for thy duties) the Lord 
will save thee, though thou never come to Christ, and sayest, as 
he in another case, " Now I hope the Lord will do good to me, 
seeing I have got a priest into my house." (Judg. xvii. 13.) Dost 
thou enhance the price of duties thus, that thou dost dote on 
them ? Then I do pronounce from God, thou dost rest in them. 
" These things " (saith Paul) " I counted gain," (that is, before 
his conversion to Christ, he prized them exceedingly,) but " now 
I account them loss." And this is the reason why a child of 
God, commonly, after all his prayers, tears, and confessions, doubts 
much of God's love toward him ; whereas another man, that 
falleth short of him, never questions his estate ; the first sees 
much rottenness and vileness in his best duties, and so judgeth 
meanly of himself; the other, ignorant of the vileness of them, 
prizeth them, and esteemeth highly of them ; and setting his corn 
at so high a price, he may keep them to himself; the Lord never 
accepteth them, nor buyeth them at so high a rate. 

Thirdly. Those that never came to be sensible of their pov- 
erty and utter emptiness of all good ; for so long as a man hath 
a penny in his purse, that is, feels any good in himself, he will 
never come a-begging unto Jesus Christ, and therefore rests in 
himself. Now, didst thou never feel thyself in this manner poor, 
viz., I am as ignorant as any beast, as vile as any devil. Lord, 
what a nest and litter of sin and rebellion lurk in my heart ! 
I once thought at least my heart and desires were good, but now 
I feel no spiritual life. O dead heart ! I am the poorest, vilest, 
basest, and blindest creature that ever lived. If thou dost not 
thus feel thyself poor, thou never camest out of thy duties ; for 
when the Lord bringeth any man to Christ, he brings him empty, 
that so he may make him beholding to Christ for every farthing 

Fourthly. Those that gain no evangelical righteousness by 
duties, rest in duties ; I say, evangelical righteousness, that is 
more prizing of acquaintance with, desire after, loving and de- 
lighting in union with the Lord Jesus Christ ; for a mortal man 
may grow in legal righteousness, (as the stony and thorny ground 
seed sprang up, and increased much, and came near unto matu- 


rity,) and yet rest in duties all this while. For as it is with 
tradesmen, they rest in their buying and selling, though they 
make no gain of their trading. Now Jesus Christ is a Christian's 
gain, (Phil. i. 21 ;) and hence a child of God asks himself after 
sermon, after prayer, after sacrament. What have I gained of 
Christ ? Have I got more knowledge of Christ, more admiring 
of the Lord Jesus ? Now, a carnal heart, that rests in his duties, 
asketh only what he hath done, as the Pharisee : " I thank God 
I am not as other men ; I fast twice a week, I give alms," and 
the like ; and thinks verily he shall be saved, because he prays, 
and because he hears, and because he reforms, and because he 
sorrows for his sins ; that is, not because of the gaining of Christ 
in a duty, but because of his naked performance of the duty ; and 
so they are like that man that I have heard of, that thought verily 
he should be rich, because he had got a wallet to beg : so men, 
because they perform duties, think verily they shall be saved. 
No such matter : let a man have a bucket made of gold ; doth he 
think to get water because he hath a bucket ? No, no ; he must 
let it down into the well, and draw up water with it : so must 
thou let down all thy duties into Christ, and draw light and life 
from his fullness, else, though thy duties be golden duties, thou 
shalt perish without Christ. When a man hath bread in his 
wallet, and got water in his bucket, he may boldly say. So long 
as these last, I shall not famish ; so mayest thou say, when thou 
hast found and got Christ, in the performance of any duty. So 
long as Christ's life lasteth, I shall live ; as long as he hath any 
wisdom or power, so long shall I be directed and enabled in 
well doing. 

Fifthly. If thy duties make thee sin more boldly, thou dost 
then rest in duties ; for these duties, which carry a man out of him- 
self unto Christ, ever fetch power against sin ; but duties that a 
man rests in arm him and fence him in his sin. (Is. i. 14.) A 
cart that hath no wheels to rest on can hardly be drawn into 
the dirt ; but one that hath wheels cometh loaded through it : so 
a child of God that hath no wheels, no duties, to rest upon, can 
not willingly be drawn into sin ; but another man, though he be 
loaden with sin, (even sometimes against his conscience,) yet 
having duties to bear him up, goetli merrily on in a sinful course, 
and makes no bones of sin. When we see a base man revile a 
great prince, and strike him, we say. Surely, he durst not do 
it unless he had somebody to bear him out in it, that he rests 
and trusts unto : so when we see men sin against the great God, 
we conceive, certainly, they durst not do it, if they had not 
some duties to bear them out in it, and to encourage them in 
their way, that they trust unt#. 


For, take a profane man : what makes him drink, swear, cozen, 
game, whore ? Is there no God to punish ? Is there no hell 
hot enough to torment ? Are there no plagues to confound him ? 
Yes. Why sinneth he so then ? O, he prayeth to God for forgive- 
ness, and sorroweth, and repents in se^*et, (as he saith,) and this 
bears him up in his lewd pranks. 

Take a moral man : he knows he hath his failings, and his 
sins, as the best have, and is overtaken sometimes as the best are : 
why doth he not remove these sins then ? He confesseth them 
to God every morning when he riseth. Why is he not more 
humbled under his sin then? The reason is, he constantly 
observeth morning and evening prayer, and then he craves for- 
giveness for his failings, by wdiich course he hopes he makes his 
peace with God ; and hence he sinneth without fear, and ariseth 
out of his falls into sin without sorrow. And thus they see and 
maintain their sins by their duties, and therefore rest in duties. 

Sixthly. Those that see little of their vile hearts by duties, 
rest in their duties ; for if a man be brought nearer to Christ, 
and to the light, by duties, he will spy out more motes ; for the 
more a man participates of Christ, his health, and life, the more 
he feeleth the vileness and sickness of sin. As Paul when he 
rested in duties before his conversion, before that the law bad 
humbled him, he was alive ; that is, he thought himself a sound 
man, because his duties covered his -sins, like fig leaves. There- 
fore ask thine own heart if it be troubled sometimes for sin, 
and if after thy praying and sorrowing thou dost grow well, and 
thinkest thyself safe, and feelest not thyself more vile. If it 
be thus, I tell thee, thy duties be but fig leaves to cover thy 
nakedness, and the Lord will find thee out, and unmask thee one 
day ; and woe to thee if thou dost perish here. 
^ Secondly. Therefore behold the insufficiency of all duties to 
save us ; which will appear in these three things which I speak, 
that you may learn hereafter never to rest in duties : — 

First. Consider, thy best duties are tainted, poisoned, and 
mingled with some sin, and therefore are most odious in the eyes 
of a holy God, (nakedly and barely considered in themselves ;) 
for, if the best actions of God's people be filthy, as they come 
from them, then, to be sure, all wicked men's actions are much 
more filthy and polluted with sin ; but the first is true — ''All our 
righteousnesses are as filthy rags ; " for as the fountain is so is the 
stream ; but the fountain of all good actions (that is, the heart) 
is mingled partly with sin, partly with grace ; therefore every 
action participates of some sin, which sins are daggers at God's 
heart, even when a man is praying and begging for his life ; 
therefore there is no hope to be saved by duties. 


Secondly. Suppose thou couldest perform them without sin ; 
yet thou couldst not hold out in doing so. (Is. xl. 6,) ''All flesh 
and the glory thereof is but grass." So thy best actions would 
soon wither if they were not perfect ; and if thou canst not per- 
severe in performing all duties perfectly, thou art forever undone, 
though thou shouldest do so for a time, live like an angel, shine 
like a sun, and, at thy last gasp, have but an idle thought, com- 
mit the least sin, that one rock will sink thee down even in the 
haven, though never so richly laden ; one sin, like a penknife 
at the heart, will stab thee ; one sin, like a little firestick in the 
thatch, will burn thee ; one act of treason will hang thee, though 
thou hast lived never so devoutly before, (Ezek. xviii. 24 ;) for 
it is a crooked life when all the parts of the line of thy life be 
not straight before Almighty God. 

Thirdly. Suppose thou shouldest persevere; yet it is clear 
thou hast sinned grievously already ; and dost thou think thine 
obedience for the time to come can satisfy the Lord for all those 
rents behind, for all those sins past ? as can a man that pays his 
rent honestly every year satisfy hereby for the old rent not paid 
in twenty years ? All thy obedience is a new debt, which can 
not satisfy for debts past. Indeed, men may forgive wrong and 
debts, because they be but finite ; but the least sin is an infinite 
evil, and therefore God must be satisfied for it. Men may remit 
debts, and yet remain men ; but the Lord having said, " The 
soul that sinneth shall die," and his truth being himself, he can 
not remain God, if he forgive it without satisfaction. Therefore 
duties are but rotten crutches for a soul to rest upon. 

But to what end should we use any duties ? Can not a man 
be saved by his good prayers, nor sorrows, nor repentings? 
What should we pray any more then ? Let us cast off all duties, 
if all are to no purpose to save us ; as good play for nothing as 
work for nothing. 

Though thy good duties can not save thee, yet thy bad works 
will damn thee. Thou art, therefore, not to cast off the duties, 
but the resting in these duties. Thou art not to cast them away, 
but to cast them down at the feet of Jesus Christ, as they did 
their crowns, (Rev. iv. 10, 11,) saying. If there be any good or 
graces in these duties, it is thine, Lord ; for it is the prince's 
favor that exalts a man, not liis own gifts : they came from his 
good pleasure. 

But thou wilt say. To what end should I perform duties, if I 
can not be saved by them ? 

For these three ends : — 

First, To carry thee to the Lord Jesus, the only Saviour. (Heb. 


vii. 25.) He only is able to save (not* duties) all that come' nnio 
God (that is, in the use of means) by him. Hear a sermon to 
carry thee to Jesus Christ ; fast and pray, and get a full tide of 
affections in them to carry thee to the Lord Jesus Christ ; that 
is, to get more love to him, more acquaintance with him, more 
imion with him ; so sorrow for thy sins that thou mayest be more 
fitted for Christ, that thou mayest prize Christ the more ; use 
thy duties as Noah's dove did her wings, to carry thee to the ark 
of the Lord Jesus Christ, where only there is rest. If she had 
never used her wings, she had fallen into the waters ; so, if thou 
slialt use no duties, but cast them all off, thou art sure to perish. 
Or, as it is with a poor man that is to go over a great water for 
a treasure on the other side, though he can not fetch the boat, he 
calls for it ; and, though there be no treasure in the boat, yet he 
useth the boat to carry him over to the treasure. So Christ is 
in heaven, and thou on earth ; he doth not come to thee, and 
thou canst not go to him ; now call for a boat ; though there is 
no grace, no good, no salvation, in a pithless duty, yet use it to 
carry thee over to the treasure — the Lord Jesus Christ. When 
thou comest to hear, say, Have over Lord by this sei-mon ; when 
thou comest to pray, say, Have over Lord by this prayer to a 
Saviour. But this is the misery of people. Like foohsh lovers, 
when they are to woo for the lady, they fall in love with her 
handmaid that is only to lead them to her ; so men fall in love 
with, and dote upon, their own duties, and rest contented with 
the naked performance of them, which are only handmaids to 
lead the soul unto the Lord Jesus Christ. 

Secondly. L"se duties as evidences of God's everlasting love 
to you when you be in Christ ; for the graces and duties of 
God's people, although they be not causes, yet they be tokens 
and pledges of salvation to one in Christ : they do not save a 
man, but accompany and follow such a man as shall be saved, 
(Heb. vi. 9.) Let a man boast of his joys, feelings, gifts, spirit, 
grace, if he walks in the commission of any one sin, or the omis- 
sion of any one known duty, or in the slovenly, ill-favored per- 
formance of duties, this man, I say, can have no assurance 
without flattering himself. (2 Pet. i. 8, 9, 10.) Duties, there- 
fore, being evidences and pledges of salvation, use them to that 
end, and make much of them therefore ; as a man that hath a 
fair evidence for his lordship, because he did not purchase his 
lordship, will he therefore cast it away ? No, no ; because it is 
an evidence to assure him that it is his own ; and so, to defend 
him against all such as seek to take it from him, he will carefully 
preserve the same ; so, because duties do not save thee, wilt 


thou cast away good duties ? No ; for they are evidences (if 
thou art in Clirist) that the Lord and mercy are thine own. "Wo- 
men will not cast away their love tokens, although they are such 
things as did not purchase or merit the love of their husbands ; 
but because they are tokens of his love, therefore they will keep 
them safe. 

That God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ may be 
honored by the performance of these duties, therefore use them. 
Christ shed his blood that he might purchase unto himself a 
people zealous of good works, (Tit. ii. 14,) not to save our souls 
by them, but to honor him. O, let not the blood of Christ be 
shed in vain ! Grace and good duties are a Christian's crown ; 
it is sin only makes a man base. Now, shall a king cast away 
his crown, because he bought not his kingdom by it.^ No ; be- 
cause it is his ornament and glory to wear it when he is made a 
king. So 1 say unto thee. It is better that Christ should be hon- 
ored than thy soul saved ; and, therefore, perform duties, because 
they honor the Lord Jesus Christ. Thus use thy duties, but 
rest not in duties ; nay, go out of duties, and match thy soul to 
the Lord Jesus ; take him for better and for worse; so live in 
him and upon him all thy days. 

Fourthly. By reason of man's headstrong presumption, or 
false faith, whereby men seek to save themselves by catching 
hold on Christ, when they see an insufficiency in all duties to 
help them, and themselves unworthy of mercy ; for this is the 
last and most dangerous rock that these times are split upon. 
Men make a bridge of their owm to carry them to Christ. I 
mean, they look not after faith wrought by an omnipotent powder, 
which the eternal Spirit of the Lord Jesus must work in them, 
but they content themselves with a faith of their own forging 
and framing ; and hence they think verily and believe that 
Chinst is their sweet Saviour, and so doubt not but they are safe, 
when there is no such matter ; but evea as dogs they snatch 
away children's bread, and shall be shut out of doors (out of 
heaven hereafter forever) for their labor. 

All men are of this opinion, that there is no salvation but by 
the merits of Jesus Christ ; and because they hold fast this opin- 
ion, therefore they think they hold fast Jesus Christ in the hand 
of faith, and so perish by catching at their ow^n catch, and hang- 
ing on their own fancy and shadow. Some others catch hold of 
Christ before they come to feel the want of faith and ability to 
believe, and catching hold on him, (like dust on a man's coat, 
whom God w^ill shake off, or like burs and briers, cleaving to 
one's garment, which the Lord will trample under foot,) now say 


they, they thank God, they have got comfort by this means, and 
though God killeth them, yet they will trust unto him. (Micah 
iii. 11.) 

It is in this respect a harder matter to convert a man in Eng- 
land than in the India, for there they have no such shifts and 
forts against our sermons ; to say they believe in Christ already, 
as most amongst us do, we can not rap off men's fingers from 
catching hold on Christ before they are fit for him ; like a com- 
pany of thieves in the street, you shall see a hundred hands 
scrambling for a jewel that is fallen there, that have least, nay, 
nothing to do with it. Every man saith, almost, I hope Christ 
is mine ; I put my whole trust and confidence in him, and will not 
be beaten from this. What ! must a man despair ? must not a 
man trust unto Christ ? Thus men will hope and trust, though 
they have no ground, no graces to prove they may lay hold and 
claim unto Christ. This hope, scared out of his wits, damns thou- 
sands ; for I am persuaded, if men did see themselves Christ- 
less creatures, as well as sinful creatures, they w^ould cry out, 
" Lord, what shall I do to be saved ? " 

This faith is a precious faith. (2 Pet. i. 2.) Precious things 
cost much, and we set them at a high rate ; if thy faith be so, it 
hath cost thee many a prayer, many a sob, many a salt tear. But 
ask most men how they come by their faith in Christ, they say very 
easily ; w^hen the lion sleeps, a man may lie and sleep by it ; but 
when it awakens, woe to that man that doth so : so while God is si- 
lent and patient, thou mayest befool thyself with thinking thou dost 
trust unto God ; but woe to thee when the Lord appears in his 
wrath, as one day he will ; for by virtue of this false faith, men 
sinning take Christ for a dishclout to wipe them clean again, 
and that is all the use they have of this faith. They sin indeed, 
but they trust unto Christ for his mercy, and so lie still in their 
sins : God will revenge with blood, and fire, and plagues, this 
horrible contempt from heaven. 

Hence many of you trust to Christ, as the apricot tree, that 
leans against the wall, but it is fast rooted in the earth ; so you 
lean upon Christ for salvation, but you are rooted in the world, 
rooted in your pride, rooted in your filthiness still. Woe to you 
if you perish in this estate ; God will hew you down as fuel for 
his wrath, whatever mad hope you have to be saved by Christ. 
This, therefore, I proclaim from the God of heaven : — 

1. You that never felt yourselves as unable to believe as a 
dead man to raise himself, you have as yet no faith at all. 

2. You that would get faith, first must feel your inability to 
believe : and fetch not this slip out of thine own garden ; it must 


come down from Heaven to thy soul, if ever thou partakest 

Other things I should have spoken of this large subject, but I 
am forced here to end abruptly ; the Lord lay not this sin to 
their charge who have " stopped my mouth, laboring to withhold 
the truth in unrighteousness." And blessed be the good God, 
who hath stood by his unworthy servant thus long, enabling him 
to lead you so far as to show you the rocks and dangers of your 
passage to another world. 
VOL. I. 10 





Matt, xviii. 11. — "I came to save that which was lost. 



Sir : Many strugglings I have had about publishing these 
notes. I have looked up to God, and at last been persuaded 
upon these grounds : — 

1. The many desires both of friends and strangers, both by 
private speeches and letters, which I thought might be the voice 
of Christ. 

2. Som'e good (as I hear) those which are already out have 
done, and which the rest might do, which I have looked on as a 
testimony of the Lord's acceptance of them. 

3. I know not what the Lord's meaning should be to bring to 
light by his providence, without my privity, knowledge, or will, 
the former part, unless it was to awaken and enforce me (being 
desired) to publish the rest ; our works, I thought, should re- 
semble God's works, not to be left imperfect. 

4. I considered my weak body, and my short time of sojourn- 
ing here, and that I shall not speak long to children, friends, or 
God's precious people, — I am sure not to many in England, — to 
whom I owe almost my whole self, whom I shall see in this world 
no more ; I have been therefore willing to get the wind, and take 
the season, that I might leave some part of God's precious truth 
on record, that it might speak (O that it might be to the heart !) 
among whom I can not (and when I shall not) be. I account it 
a part of God's infinite grace to make me an instrument of the 
least good. If the Lord shall so far accept of me in publishing 
these things, it is all that I would desire ; if not, yet I have 




desired forgiveness in the blood of his Son, for whatever errors 
or weaknesses may be in it, or are in myself, which may hin- 
der success, and frustrate its end ; only what I have in much 
weakness believed, I have written, and sent it unto you, leav- 
ing it wholly with yourself, whom I much love and honor, 
that you would add or detract any thing you see meet, (so as it 
be not cross to what I have writ ;) and if you then think it meet 
for public view, you see upon what grounds I am content with 
it ; but if you shall bury it, and put it to perpetual silence, it 
shall be most pleasing to him who thinks more meanly of it than 
others can. 

Tho. Shepard. 




Hosea xiii. 9, " Israel, thou hast destroyed thyself, but in me is thy help." 

Section I. 

These words, as they are set down in the Hebrew, are (accord- 
ing to the style of this prophet) very short and sententious, and 
therefore difficult to translate into English without some pe- 
riphrasis ; but the sense is here truly expressed, " In me is thy 
help ; " which you may see confirmed from verse 4 : " There is 
no SaviQur beside me ; " and verse 14 : "I will ransom them from 
the power of the grave ; O death, I will be thy plague ; O grave, I 
will be thy destruction." Suppose the prophet should speak here 
of temporal salvation, help and ransom, (which he doth not;) yet 
the argument is strong ; if there be no Saviour from temporal woe 
and misery but only the Lord Jesus, how much more is there 
from woes eternal ? Only understand me here aright ; I am not 
now speaking of man's deliverance and salvation by price in way 
of satisfaction to justice, (for that I have already handled,) but of 
his deliverance and salvation by power ; not of man's purchased 
deliverance, which is by the blood of Christ, but of man's actual 
deliverance, which is by the efficacy and power of the Spirit of 
Christ. Some captives among men are redeemed by price only, 
some by power without price ; but such is the lamentable captivity 
of all men, under the severity of justice and power of sin, that 
without the price of Christ's blood, (Eph. i. 7,) and the power of 
Christ's Spirit, (John viii. 36,) there is no deliverance ; the Lord 
Jesus having paid the price for our deliverance. Yet it is with 
us as with a company of captives in prison : our sins like strong 



clialns hold us ; Satan, our keeper, will not let us go ; the prison 
doors, through unbelief, are shut upon us, (Rom. xi. 32 ;) and 
thereby God and Christ are kept out from us. What power now 
can rescue us, that are held fast under such a power, even after 
the price is paid ? Truly it can be no other but that in my text, 
" In me is thy help." AYhen our ransom is paid, the Lord must 
come himself and fetch us out by strong hand. (Is. liii. 1,) " To 
whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ? Truly to very few, yet 
to some it is ; and certainly look as they make Christ no Saviour, 
indeed, who deny his salvation by price and satisfaction, so those 
also make him an imperfect Saviour who deny salvation and 
actual deliverance of man to be only the almighty arm and efficacy 
of his Spirit and power : excellent therefore is the speech of the 
apostle, (Acts v. 30, 31,) " God hath exalted Jesus to give re- 
pentance and remission of sins to Israel." Look as Jesus was 
abased to purchase repentance and remission, so he is now ex- 
alted actually to give and apply repentance and remission of sins. 
Whose glory is it to remit sins, but God's in Christ, and by Christ 
only ? ^yhose glory is it to give repentance, (which in this place 
comprehends the work of conversion and faith, as Beza observes,) 
whereby we apply remission, but the same God only ? The one 
is as difficult to be conveyed as the other, and we stand in as much 
need of Christ to do the one as the other ; all the power of Christ 
exalted is little enough to give us repentance and remission, the 
condition of the covenant expressed in repentance, and the bless- 
ings in the covenant, summed up in the forgiveness of sins ; the 
Socinians deny redemption and salvation by prize ; the Armin- 
ians by Christ's power, leaving suasion only to him, but power 
of conversion to the power and liberty of the will of man. O 
adulterous generation, that are thus hacking at and cutting the 
cords of their own salvation ! I shall here speak only to one 
question, which is the principal, and most profitable, and that is 
this : How doth Christ redeem and save us by his power, out of 
that miserable estate ? and consequently what is the way for us 
to seek, and so to find and feel deliverance by the hand of 
Christ's power? 

As there are four principal means and causes, or ways, where- 
by man ruins himself, — 1. Ignorance of their own misery; 
2. Security and unsensibleness of it ; 3. Carnal confidence in their 
own duties ; 4. Presumption or resting upon the mercy of God 
by a faith of their own forging,- — so, on the contrary, there is a 
fourfold act of Christ's power, whereby he rescues and delivers 
all his out of their miserable estate. 

The first act or stroke is conviction of sin. 


Ti'he second is compunction for sin. 

The third is humiliation or self-abasement. 

The fourth is faith ; all which are distinctly put forth (when 
lie ceaseth extraordinarily to work) in the day of Christ's pow- 
er ; and so ever look for actual salvation and redemption from 
Christ, let them seek for mercy and deliverance in this way, out 
of which they shall never find it ; let them begin at conviction, 
and desire the Lord to let them see their sins, that so being af- 
fected with them, and humbled under them, they may by faith 
be enable to receive Jesus Christ, and so be blessed in him. It 
is true, Christ is applied to us next by faith, but faith is wrought 
in us in that way of conviction and sorrow for sin ; no man can 
or will come by faith to Christ to take away his sins, unless he 
first see, be convicted of, and loaded with them. I confess the 
manner of the Spirit's work, in the conversion of a sinner unto 
God, is exceeding secret, and in many things very various ; and 
therefore it is too great boldness to mark out all God's footsteps 
herein ; yet so far forth as the Lord himself tells us his work, 
and the manner of it in all his, we may safely resolve ourselves, 
and so far, and no farther, shall we proceed in the explication of 
these things. It is great profaneness not to search into the works 
of common providence, though secret and hidden. (Ps. xxviii. 
5, and xcii. 6.) Much greater is it not to do this unto God's 
work of special favor and grace upon his chosen. 

I shall therefore begin with the first stroke — Christ's power, 
which is conviction of sin. 

Section II. 

The first Act of Christ'' s Power, which is Conviction of Sin. 

Now, for the more distinct explication of this, I shall open to 
you these four things : — 

1. I shall prove that the Lord Christ by his Spirit begins the 
actual deliverance of his elect here. 

2. What is that sin the Lord convinceth the soul thus first of. 

3. How the Lord doth it. 

4. What measure and degree of conviction he works thus in 
all his. 

1. For the first, it is said, (John xvi. 8, 9,) that the first 
thing that the Spirit doth when he comes to make the apostles' 
ministry eifectual, is this : it shall " reprove or convince the world 
of sin ; " it doth not first work faith, but convinceth them that 
they have no faith, (as in verse 9,) and consequently under the 


guilt and dominion of their sin ; and after tliis he " convinceth 
of righteousness," which faith apprehends. (Ver. 10.) It is true, 
that the word conviction, here, is of a large extent, and includes 
compunction and humiliation for sin ; yet our Saviour wraps 
them up in this word ; because conviction is the first, and there- 
fore the chief in order ; here the Lord, not speaking now of 
ineffectual, but effectual, and thorough conviction expressed 
in deep sorrow and humiliation. Now, the text saith, the Lord 
begins thus not with some one or two, but with the world of 
God's elect, who are to be called home by the ministry of the 
W'Ord, which our Saviour speaks (as any may see who considers 
the scope) purposely to comfort the hearts of his disciples, that 
their ministry shall be thus effectual to the world of Jews and 
Gentiles ; and therefore can not speak of such conviction as 
serves only for to leave men w^ithout excuse for greater condem- 
nation, (as some understand the place ; ) for that is a poor ground 
of consolation to their sad hearts. Secondly. I shall hereafter 
prove that there can be no faith without sense of sin and 
misery ; and now there can be no sense of sin without a prece- 
dent sight or conviction of sin ; no man can feel sin, unless he 
doth first see it ; what the eye sees not, the heart rues not. Let 
the greatest evil befall a man — suppose the burning of his house, 
the death of his children ; if he doth not first know, see, and hear 
of it, he will never take it to heart, it w^ill never trouble him : 
so let a poor sinner lie under the greatest guilt, the sorest wrath 
of God, it wdll never trouble him until he sees it and be con- 
vinced of it. (Acts ii. 37.) " When they heard this, they were 
pricked ; " but first they heard it, and saw their sin before their 
hearts were wounded for it. (Gen. iii. 7.) They first saw their 
nakedness before they were ashamed of it. Thirdly. The 
main end of the law is to drive us to Christ. (Rom. x. 4.) If 
Christ be the " end of the law," then the law is the means sub- 
servient to that end, and that not to some, but to all that believe : 
now, the law, though it drives us to Christ by condemnation, yet 
in order it begins with accusation. It first accuseth, and so con- 
vinceth of sin, (Rom. iii. 20,) and then condemneth. It is folly 
and injustice for a judge to condemn and bring a sinner out to 
his execution before accusation and conviction ; and is it wisdom 
or justice in the Lord or his law to do otherwise ? and therefore 
the Spirit, in making use of the law for this end, first convinceth 
as it first accuseth, and lays our sins to our charge. Lastly. 
Look, as Satan, when he binds up a sinner in his sin, he first 
keeps him (if possible) from the very sight and knowledge of it ; 
because, so long as they see it not, this ignorance is the cause of 
all their woe, why they feel it not, why they desire not to come 


out of it ; the Lord Jesus, who came to untie the knots of Sa- 
tan, (1 John iii. 8,) begins here, and first convinceth his, and 
makes them see their sin, that so they may feel it, and come to 
him for deliverance out of it. O, consider this, all you that 
dream out your time in minding only things before your feet, 
never thinking on the evils of your own hearts ; you that heed 
not, you that will not see your sins, nor so much as ask this 
question, What have I done ? what do I do ? how do I live ? 
what will become of me ? what will be the end of my foolish 
courses ? I tell you, if ever the Lord save you, he will make 
you see what now you can not, what now you will not ; he 
will not only make you to confess you are sinners, but he will 
convince you of sin : this shall be the first thing the Lord will 
do with thee. 

But you will say. What is that sin which the Lord first con- 
vinceth of? which is the second thing to be opened. I answer 
in these three conclusions : — 

The Lord Jesus by his Spirit doth not only convince the soul 
in general that it is a sinner and sinful, but the Lord brings in 
a convicting evidence of the particulars : the first is learnt 
more by tradition, (in these days,) by the report and acknowledg- 
ment of every man, rather than by any special act of conviction 
of the Spirit of Christ ; for what man is there almost but lies 
under this confession that he is a sinner ? The best say they 
are sinners, " and if we say we have no sin, we deceive our- 
selves," and "I know I am a sinner ; " but that which the Spirit 
principally convinceth of is some sin or sins in particular ; the 
Spirit doth not arrest men for offences in general, but opens the 
writ and shows the particular cause — the particular sins. (Rom. 
iii. 9.) We have proved, saith the apostle, that Jews and Gen- 
tiles are under sin ; but how doth the apostle, (being now the 
instrument of the Spirit,) in this work of conviction, convince 
them of this? Mark his method, verses 10-18, wherein you 
shall see it is done by enumeration of particulars ; sins of their 
natures, there is none righteous ; sins of their minds, none un- 
derstandeth ; sins in their wills and affections, none seek after 
God ; sins in their lives, all gone out of the way ; sins of 
omission of good duties, there is none that doth good; their 
throats, tongues, lips, are sepulchers, deceitful, poisonful ; their 
mouths full of cursing, their feet swift to shed blood, etc. 
And this is the state of you Jews, (ver. 19,) as well as of 
the Gentiles ; that all flesh may stand convinced as guilty be- 
fore God. If it be here demanded. What are those but par- 
ticular sins which the Lord convinceth men of ? I answer. In 
variety of men there is much variety of special sins, as there 


is of dispositions, tempers, and temptations ; and therefore the 
Lord doth not convince one man at first of the same sins of 
which he doth another man ; yet this we may safely say : usu- 
ally (though not always) the Lord begins with the remem- 
brance and consideration of some one great, if not a man's 
special and most beloved sin ; and thereby the Spirit discovers, 
gradually, all the rest : that arrow which woundeth the heart of 
Christ most, the Lord makes it fall first upon the head of the 
sinner that did shoot it against Heaven, and convinceth, and as 
it were hits him first with that. How did the Spirit convince 
those three thousand, those patterns of God's converting grace ? 
(Acts ii. 37.) Did not the Lord begin with them for one prin- 
cipal sin, viz., their murder and contempt of Christ by imbruing 
their hands in his blood ? There is no question but now they re- 
membered other sinful practices ; but this was the imprimis 
which is ever accompanied with many other items which are 
then read in God's bill of reckonings where the first is set 
down. Israel would have a king. (1 Sam. viii. 19.) Sam- 
uel, for a time, could not convince them of their sin : herein 
what doth the Lord do ? Surely he will convince them of sin be- 
fore he leaves them ; and this he doth by such a terrible thunder 
as made all their hearts ache. And how is it now ? What sin do 
they now see ? They first see the greatness of that particular sin ; J 
but this came not to mind alone, but they cried out, ( 1 Sam. xii. ^ 
19,) "We have added unto all our evils this, in asking to our- 
selves a king." Look upon the woman of Samaria. (John iv.) 
The Lord Christ indeed spake first unto her about himself, the 
substance of the gospel, about the worth of this water of life : 
but what good did she get until the Lord began to convince her J 
of sin? And how doth he that? He tells her of her secret whore- 1 
dom she lived in, the man that she now had was not her hus- 
band ; and upon the discovery of this, she saw many more sins ; 
and hence (ver. 29) she cries out, " Come see the man that hath 
told me all that ever I did in my life." And thus the Lord 
deals at this day : the minister preacheth against one sin, it may 
be whoredom, ignorance, contempt of the gospel, neglect of se- 
cret duties, lying, Sabbath-breaking, &c. This is thy case, saith 
the Spirit unto the soul ; remember the time, the place, the per- 
sons with whom thou livedst in this sinful condition : and now a 
man begins to go alone, and to think of all his former courses, 
how exceeding evil they have been ; it may be the Lord brings 
upon a man a sore affliction, and when he is in chains, crying out 
of that, the Lord saith to him as to those, (Jer. xxx. 15,) "Why 
criest thou for thy affliction ? for the multitude of thine iniquities 
I have done this : " it may be, the Lord sometimes strikes a man's 


companion in sin dead, by some fearful judgment; and then 
that particular sin comes to mind, and the Lord reveals it armed 
with multitude of many other sins, the causes of it, the fruits 
and effects of it ; as the father whips a child upon occasion of 
one special fault, but then tells him of many more which he 
winked at before this, and saith, Now, sirrah, remember such a 
time, such a froward fit, such undutiful behavior, such a reviling 
word you spake, such a time I called, and you ran away and would 
not hear me ; and you thought I liked well enough of the seways ; 
but now know that I will not pass them by, etc. Thus the Lord 
deals with his ; and hence it is, many times, that the elect of God, 
civilly brought up, do hereupon think well of themselves, and so 
remain long unconvinced of their woful estates; the Lord suffers 
them to fall into some foul, secret, or open sin, and by this the 
Lord takes special occasion of working conviction and sorrow 
for sin ; the Lord hereby makes them hang down the head, and 
cry, " Unclean, unclean." Paul was civilly educated ; he turned 
at last a hot persecutor, oppressor, blasphemer : the Lord first 
convinced him of his persecution, and cried out from heaven to 
him, " Paul, Paul, why persecutest thou me ? " This struck him 
to the heart, and then sin revived. (Rom. vii. 9.) Many secret 
sins of his heart were discovered, which I take to begin and con- 
tinue in special in those three days, (Acts iii. 9,) wherein he 
was blind, and did (through sight of sin and sorrow of heart) 
neither eat nor drink. As a man that hath the plague, not know- 
ing the disease, he hopes to live ; but when he sees the spots 
and tokens of death upon his wrist, now he cries out, because con- 
vinced that the plague of the Lord is upon him ; so when men 
see some one or more special sins break out, now they are con- 
vinced of their lamentable condition ; yet it is not always, (though 
usually thus;) for some men the Lord may first convince of sin 
by showing them the sinfulness of their own hearts and ways ; 
the Lord may let a man see his blindness, his extreme hardness 
of heart, his weakness, his wilfulness, his heartlessness ; he can 
not pray, or look up to God, and this may first convince him ; or 
that all that he doth is sinful, being out of Christ ; the Lord may 
suddenly let him see the deceits of his own heart, and the secret 
sinful practices of his life ; as if some had told the minister, or 
as if he spake to none but him ; that he is forced to fall down 
being thus convinced, and to confess, God is in this man. (1 Cor. 
xiv. 25.) Nicodemus may first see and be convinced of the want 
of regeneration, and thereby feel his need of Christ ; the Lord 
may set a man upon the consideration of all his life past, how 
wickedly it hath been spent ; and so not one, but a multitude of 
VOL. I. 11 


iniquities compass him about ; a man may see tlie godly examples 
of his parents or other godly Christians, in the family or town 
where he dwells, and by this be convinced, that if their state and 
way be good, his own (so far unlike it) must needs be stark 
naught : the Lord ever convinceth the soul of sins in particular, 
but he doth not always convince one man of the same particular 
sins at first as he doth another ; whether the Lord convinceth all 
the elect at first of the sin of their nature, and show them 
their original sin in and about this first stroke of conviction, I 
doubt not of it. Paul would have been alive, and a proud Pharisee 
still, if the Lord had not let him by the law see this sin, (Rom. 
vii. 9 ;) and so would all men in the world, if this should not be 
revealed first or last, in a lesser or greater measure, under a dis- 
tinct or more indistinct notion ; and hence arise those confessions 
of the saints — I never thought I had such a vile heart ; if all the 
world had told me, I could not have believed them, but that the 
Lord hath made me feel it and see it at last ; was there ever such 
a sinner, (at least in heart, which is continually opposing of him,) 
whom the Lord at any time received to mercy, as I am ? 

2. The Lord Jesus by his Spirit doth not only convince the 
soul of its sin in particular, but also of the evil, even the exceed- 
ing great evil, of those particular sins. The Lord Jesus doth not 
only convince of the evil of sin, but of the great evil of sin. O 
thou wretch, saith the Spirit, (as the Lord to Cain, Gen. iv. 10,) 
w^hat hast thou done, whose sins cry to heaven, who hast thus 
long lived with God, and done this infinite wrong to an infinite 
God, for which thou canst never make him amends ! That God 
who could have long since cut thee off in the midst of thy sins 
and wickedness, and crushed thee like a moth, and sent thee 
down to those eternal flames where thou now seest some better 
than thyself mourning day and night, but yet hath spared thee 
out of his mere pity to thee, that God hast thou resisted and 
forsaken all thy lifetime ; and, therefore, now see and consider 
what an evil and bitter thing it is thus to live as thou hast done. 
(Jer. ii. 19.) Look, as it is in the w^ays of holiness, many a man 
void of the Spirit may see and know them in the literal ex- 
pressions of them, but can not see the glory of them but by the 
Spirit ; and hence it is he doth not esteem and prize them and the 
knowledge of them above gold. So in the ways of unholiness ; 
many a man void of the spirit of conviction of sin may and doth 
see many particular sins, and confess them ; but he doth not, can 
not see the exceeding evil of them ; and thence it is, though he 
doth see them, yet he doth not much dislike them, because he 
sees no great hurt or evil in them, but makes a light matter of 


them ; and therefore, when the Spirit comes, it lets him see and 
stand convinced of the exceeding greatness of the evil that is in 
them. (Job xxxvi. 8, 9.) In the time of affliction, (which is 
usually the time of conviction of a wild, unruly sinner,) he shows 
them their transgressions; but how? that they have exceeded, 
that they have been exceeding many and exceeding vile. O 
beloved, before the Lord Jesus comes to convince, we have cause 
to pray for and pity every poor sinner, as the Lord Jesus did, 
saying, '• Lord, forgive them ; they know not w^iat they do." You 
godly parents, masters, how oft do you instruct your children, 
servants, and convince them of their sinfulness, until they con- 
fess their faults ? yet you see no amendment, but they go on still ; 
what should you now do ? O, cry out for them, and say. Lord, 
forgive them, for they know not what they do. Their sins they 
know, but what the evil of them is, alas ! they know not ; but 
when the vSpirit comes to convince, he makes them see what they 
do, and what is the exceeding evil of those sins they made light 
of before ; like madmen that have sworn, and cursed, and struck 
their friends, and when they come to be sober again, and remem- 
ber their mischievous ways and words, now they see w^hat they 
have done, and how abominable their courses then were. O 
you that walk on in the madness of your minds now, in all man- 
ner of sin, if ever the Lord do good to you, you shall account 
your ways madness and folly, and cry out, O Lord, what have 
I done in kicking thus long against the pricks ? 

The Lord Jesus by his Spirit doth not only convince the soul 
of the evil of sin, but of the evil after sin ; I mean, of the just 
punishment which doth follow sin ; and that is this, viz., that it 
must die, and that eternally, for sin, if it remain in this estate it is 
now in. (Rom. iv. 15,) " The law worketh wrath," i. e., sight 
and sense of wrath. (Rom. vii. 9,) " When the law came, sin 
revived, and I died ; " i. e., I saw myself a dead man by it ; so the 
soul sees clearly God hath said, " The soul that sinneth shall 
die ; " I have sinned, and therefore, if the Lord be true, I shall 
die ; to hell I shall, if now the Lord stop my breath, and cut 
off my life, which he might justly and may easily do. " Death 
is the wages of sin," even of any one sin, though never so little ; 
what, then, will become of me, who stand guilty of so many, ex- 
ceeding the number of the hairs on my head, or the stars in 
heaven ? " Whoremongers and adulterers God will judge ; " the 
minister hath said so, the Lord himself hath told me so. (Heb. 
xiii. 4.) I am the man ; my conscience now tears me, and tells 
me so; what will become of me? "The Lord Jesus will come 
in flaming fire to render vengeance against all that know not 


God, and that obey not the gospel." This I believe, for God 
hath said it. (2 Thess. ii. 7-9.) And now I see I am he that 
hath lived long in ignorance, and know not God ; I have had the 
gospel of grace thus long wooing and persuading my heart, and 
oftentimes it hath affected me, but yet I have resisted God and 
his gospel, and have set my filthy lusts, my vain sports, my com- 
panions^ cups and queans at a higher price than Christ, and have 
loved them more than him ; and therefore, though I may be 
spared for a while, yet there is a time wherein Christ himself 
v/ill come out against me in flaming fire. To this purpose doth 
the Spirit work ; for, beloved, the great means whereby Satan 
overthrew man at first in his innocency was this principle — - 
Although thou dost eat, and so sin against God, yet thou shalt 
not die. (Gen. iii. 4,) " Ye shall not surely die." The serpent doth 
not say, " Ye shall not die," for that is too gi'oss an outfacing of the 
word, (Gen. ii. 17 ;) but he saith, " Ye shall not surely die ; " that 
is, there is not such absolute certainty of it ; it may be you shall 
live ; God loves you better than so, and is a more merciful Father 
than to be at a word and a blow. Now look, as Satan deceived 
and brought our first parents to ruin by suggesting this principle^ 
so at this day he doth sow this accursed seed, and plant this very 
principle in the soul of every man's heart by nature ; they do 
not think they can not believe they are dead men, and condemned 
to die, and that they shall die eternally for the least sin com- 
mitted by them ; men nor angels can not persuade them of it ; 
they can not see the equity of it, that God, so merciful, w^ill be so 
severe for so small a matter ; nor yet the truth of it, for then 
they think no flesh should be saved ; and thus, when the old ser- 
pent hath spit this jDoison before them, they sup it up, and drink 
it in, and so thousands, nay, millions of men and women are 
utterly undone. The Lord Christ, therefore, when he comes to 
save a poor sinner, and raise him up out of his fall, convinceth 
the soul by his Spirit, and that with full and mighty evidence, 
that it shall die for the least sin, and tells him, as the Lord told 
Abimelech in another case, (Gen. xx. 3,) " Thou art but a dead 
man for this ; " and if the Spirit set on this, let who can claw it 
off. I tell you, beloved, never did poor condemned malefactor 
more certainly know and hear the sentence of condemnation 
passed upon him by a mortal man, than the guilty sinner doth 
his, by an immortal and displeased God; and therefore those 
three thousand cry out, (Acts ii. 37,) " Men and brethren, what 
shall we do to be saved ? " We are condemned to die ; what shall 
we do now to be saved from death ? Now the soul is glad to 
inquii-e of the minister, 0, tell me, what shall I do ? I once thought 


myself in a safe and good condition as any in the town or coun- 
try I lived in ; but now the Lord hath let me hear of other 
^news ; die I must in this estate, and it is a wonder of mercies I 
am spared alive to this day. There is not only some blind fears 
and suspicions that it may possibly be so, but full persuasions of 
heart, die I must, die I shall in this estate; for if the Spirit 
reveal sin, and convince not of death for sin, the soul under this 
work of conviction, being as yet rather sensual than spiritual, will 
make a light matter of it when it sees no sensible danger in it ; 
but when it sees the bottomless pit before it, everlasting fire be- 
fore it, for the least sin, now it sees the heinous evil of sin ; the 
way of sin, though never so peaceable before, is full of danger 
now, wherein it sees there are endless woes and everlasting 
deaths that lie in wait for it. (Rom. vi. 21.) And now, saith 
the Spirit, you may go on in these sinful courses as others do, if 
you see meet ; but O, consider what will be the end of them ; 
what it is to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season, and to be 
tormented forever for them in the conclusion ; for be assured that 
will be the end : and hence the soul, seeing itself thus set apart 
for death, looks upon itself in a far worse estate than the brute 
beasts, or vilest w^orm upon the earth ; for it thinks, When they 
die there is an end of their misery ; but 0, then is the beginning 
of mine forever. Hence also arise those fears of death and of 
being suddenly cut off, that, when it Hes down, it trembles to 
think, I may never rise again, because it is convinced, not only 
that it deserves to die, but that it is already sentenced for to die : 
hence also the soul justifies God, if he had cut him off in his sin ; 
and wonders what kept him from it, thei-e being nothing else due 
from God unto it : hence, lastly, tlie soul is stopped and stands 
still, goes not on in sin as before ; or if it doth, the Lord gives it 
no peace. (Jer. viii. 6.) Why doth the horse go on in the bat- 
tle ? Because it sees not death before it ; but now the soul sees 
death, and therefore stops. O, remember this, all you that never 
could believe that you are dead, condemned men, and therefore 
are never troubled with any such thoughts in your mind. I tell 
you that you are far from conviction, and therefore far from 
salvation : if God should send some from the dead to bear witness 
against this secure world concerning this truth, yet you will 
not believe it, for his messengers sent from heaven are not be- 
lieved herein ; woe be to you if you remain unconvinced of this 

But you will say. How doth the Lord thus convince sin, and 
wherein is it expressed ? which is the third particular. 

All knowledge of sin is not conviction of sin ; all confession of 


sin is not conviction ; there is a conviction merely rational, which 
is not spiritual ; there are three things in spiritual conviction. 

There is a clear, certain, and manifest light, so that the soul 
sees its sin, and death due to it, clearly and certainly ; for go the 
word (John xvi. 9) eleyiceip signifies to evidence a thing by 
way of argumentation, nay, demonstration. The Spirit so de- 
monstrates these things, that it hath nothing to object ; a man's 
mouth is stopped ; he hath nothing to say but this : Behold, I am 
vile ; I am a dead man ; for if a man have any strong arguments 
given him to confirm a truth, yet if he have but one objection or 
doubtful scruple not answered, he is not fully as yet convinced, 
because full conviction by a clear sunlight scatters all dark ob- 
jections, and hence our Saviour (Jude 15) will one day convince 
the wicked of all their hard speeches against him, which will 
chiefly be done by manifesting the evil of such ways, and taking 
away all those colors and defenses men have made for their lan- 
guage. Before the Spirit of Christ comes, man can not see, will 
not see his sin for punishment ; nay, he hath many things to say 
for himself as excuses and extenuations of sin. One saith, I was 
drawn unto it, (the woman that thou gavest me,) and so lays the 
blame on others : another saith, It is my nature : others say, All 
are sinners ; the godly sin as well as others, and yet are saved at 
last, and so I hope shall I : others profess they can not part with 
sin ; they would be better, but they can not, and God requires no 
more than they are able to perform : another saith, I will con- 
tinue in sin but a little while, and purpose hereafter to leave it : 
others say. We are sinners, but yet God is merciful, and will for- 
give it : another saith, Though I have sinned, yet I have some 
good, and am not so bad as other men : endless are these excuses 
for sin. In one word, I know no man, though never so bad, 
though his sin be never so grievous, but he hath something to say 
for himself, and something in his mind to lessen and extenuate 
sin ; but, beloved, when the Spirit comes to convince, he so con- 
vinceth as that he answers all these, pulls down all these fences, 
tears off all these fig leaves, scatters all these mists, and pulls off 
all these scales from the eyes, stops a man's mouth, that the soul 
stands before God, crying, O Lord, guilty, guilty ; as the proph- 
et Jeremy told them, (Jer. ii. 23,) " Why dost thou say, I am 
innocent ? look upon thy way," etc. So the Spirit saith. Why 
dost thou say thy sin is small ? it is disobedience, as Samuel 
said to Saul, (1 Sam. xv. 23,) which is rebellion, and as the sin 
of witchcraft ; and is that a small matter? The Spirit of convic- 
tion, hy the clear evidence of the truth, binds the understanding 
that it can not struggle against God any more ; and hence let all 


the world plead to the contrary, nay, let the godly come to com- 
fort them in this estate, and think and speak ^v-^l of them, yet 
they can not believe them, because they are certain their estates 
are woful : hence also we shall observe the soul under convic- 
tion — instead of excusing sin, it aggravates sin, and studies to 
aggravate sin. Did ever any deal thus wickedly, walk thus 
sinfully, so long against so many checks and chidings, light and 
love, means and mercies, as I have done ? And it is wonderful 
to observe that those things which made it once account sin light 
make it therefore to think sin great ; ex. gr.^ my sin is little. 
The more unkind thou (saith the Spirit) that wilt not do a small 
matter for the Lord. My sin is common. The more sinful thou 
that in those things wherein all the world rise up in arms against 
God, thou joinest with them. God spares me after sin. The 
greater is thy sin, therefore, that thou hast continued so long in, 
against a God so pitiful to thee. The dearest sins are now the 
vilest sins ; because, though they were most sweet to him, yet 
the Spirit convinceth him they were therefore the more grievous 
unto the soul of God. You poor creatures may now hide, and 
color, and excuse your sins before men ; but, when the Lord 
comes to convince, you can not lie hid. Then your consciences 
(when Jesus Christ the Lord comes to convince) shall not be 
like the steward in the gospel that set down fifty for a hun- 
dred pounds. No ; the Lord will force it to bring in a true and 
clear account at that day. 

There is a real light in spiritual conviction. Rational convic- 
tion makes things appear notionally ; but spiritual conviction, 
really. The Spirit, indeed, useth argumentation in conviction ; 
but it goeth further, and causeth the soul not only to see sin and 
death discursively, but also intuitively and really. Reason can 
see and discourse about words and propositions, and behold 
things by report, and to deduct one thing from another ; but the 
Spirit makes a man see the things themselves, really wrapped up in 
those words. The Spirit brings spiritual things as well as notions 
before a man's eye ; the light of the Spirit is like the light of the 
sun — it makes all things appear as they are. (John iii. 20, 21.) 
It was Jerusalem's misery she heard the words of Christ, and 
they were not hid from them ; but the things of her peace, shut 
up in those words, were hid from her eyes. Discourse with 
many a man about his sin and misery, he will grant all that you 
say, and he is convinced, and his estate is most wretched, and 
yet still lives in all manner of sin. What is the reason of it ? 
Truly, he sees his sin only by discourse, but he doth not, nay, 
can not, see the thing sin, death, wrath of God, until the Spirit 


come, which only convinceth or showeth that really. A man 
will not be afraM of a lion when it is painted only upon a wall. 
Why ? Because therein he doth not see the living hon : when 
he sees that he trembles. So men hear of sin, and talk of sin 
and death, and say they are most miserable in regard of both ; 
yet their hearts tremble not, are not amazed at these evils, be- 
cause sin is not seen alive, death is not presented alive before 
them, which is done by the Spirit of conviction only, revealing 
these really to the soul ; and hence it is that many men in 
seeing see not. How can that be ? Thus, in seeing things 
notionally they see them not really. And hence many that 
know most of sin know least of sin, because, in seeing it no- 
tionally, they see it not really. And therefore happy were it for 
some men, scholars and others, that they had no notional knowl- 
edge of sin ; for this light is their darkness, and makes them 
more uncapable of spiritual conviction. The first act of spirit- 
ual conviction is to let a man see clearly that he is sinful and 
most miserable. The second act is to let the soul see really what 
this sin and death is. O, consider of this. Many of you know 
that you are sinful, and that you shall die ; but dost thou know 
what sin is, and what it is to die ? If thou didst, I dare say thy 
heart would sink. If thou dost not, thou art a condemned man, 
because not yet a convinced man. If you here ask how the 
Lord makes sin real, I answer, by making God real ; the real 
greatness of sin is seen by beholding really the greatness of God, 
who is smitten by sin ; sin is not seen because God is not seen. 
(3 John v. ll,y "He that doth evil hath not seen God." 
No knowledge of God is the cause why blood toucheth blood. 
The Spirit casts out all other company of vain and foolish 
thoughts, and then God comes in and appears immediately to 
the soul in his greatness and glory, and then the Spirit saith, 
Lo, this is that God thy sins have provoked. And now sin ap- 
pears as it is ; and, together with this real sight of sin, the soul 
doth not see painted lire, but sees tlie fire of God's wrath really, 
whither now it is leading, that never can be quenched but by 
Christ's blood ; and, when the Spirit hath thus convinced, now a 
man begins to see his madness and folly in times past, saying, 
I know not what I did ; and hence questions. Can the Lord par- 
don such a wretch as I, whose sins are so great ? Hence also 
the heart begins to be affected with sin and death, because it sees 
them now as they are indeed, and not by report only. A man 
accounts it a matter of nothing to tread upon a worm, wherein 
here is nothing seen worthy either to be loved or feared; and hence 
a man's heart is not affected with it. Before the Spirit of convic- 


tion comes, God is more vile in man's eye than any worm. As 
Christ said in another case of himself, (Ps. xxii.,) " I am a worm, 
and no man," so may the Lord complain, I am viler in such a 
one's eyes than any worm, and no God ; and hence a man makes 
it a matter of nothing to tread upon the glorious majesty of 
God, and hence is not affected with it ; but when God is seen 
by the spirit of conviction in his great glory, then, as he is great, 
sin is seen great ; as his glory affects and astonisheth the soul, 
so sin affects the heart. 

There is a constant light ; the soul sees sin and death contin- 
ually before it ; God's arrows stick fast in the soul, and cannot 
be plucked out. *' My sin is ever before me," said David, (in his 
renewing of the work of conversion.) For, in effectual convic- 
tion, the mind is not only bound to see the misery lying upon it, 
but it is held bound ; it is such a sunlight as never can be 
quenched, though it may be clouded. When the Spirit of Christ 
darts in any light to see sin, the soul would turn away from look- 
ing upon it, would not hear on that ear, Felix-like. But the 
Spirit of conviction, sent to make thorough work on the hearts 
of all the elect, follows them, meets them at every turn, forceth 
them to see and remember what they have done. The least sin 
now is like a mote in the eye; it is ever troubling. Those 
ghastly, dreadful objects of sin, death, wrath, being presented 
by the Spirit near unto the soul, fix the eye to fasten here. They 
that can cast off at their pleasure the remembrance and thoughts 
of sin and death, never prove sound, until the Lord doth make 
them stay their thoughts, and muse deeply on what they have 
done, and whither they are going. And hence the soul, in lying 
down, rising up, lies down and rises up with perplexed thoughts. 
What will become of me ? The Lord sometimes keeps it waking 
in the night season, when others are asleep, and then it is haunt- 
ed with those thoughts, it can not sleep. It looks back upon 
every day and week. Sabbath, sermon, prayer, speeches, and 
thinks all this day, this week, etc., the goodness of the Lord 
and his patience to a wretch hath been continued ; but my sins also 
are continued ; I sin in all I do, in all my prayers, in all I think ; 
the same heart remains still not humbled, not yet unchanged. 

And hence you shall observe, that word which discovered sin 
at first to it, it never goes out of the mind. I think, saith the 
soul, I shall never forget such a man, nor such a truth. Hence 
also if the soul grow light and careless at some time, and casts 
off the thoughts of these things, the Spirit returns again, and 
falls a-reasoning with the soul : Why hast thou done this ? 
What hurt hath the Lord done thee ? Will there never be an 


end ? Hast not thou gone on long enough in thy lewd courses 
against God, but that thou shouldest still add unto the heap ? 
Hast thou not wrath enough upon thee already? How soon 
may the Lord stop thy breath ! and then thou knowest thou 
hadst better never to have been born. Was there ever any that 
thus resisted grace ? that thus adventured upon the sword point ? 
Hast thou but one Friend, a patient, long-suffering God, that hath 
left thy conscience without excuse long ago, and therefore could 
have cut thee off? and dost thou thus forsake him, thus abuse 
him ? Thus the Spirit follows ; and hence the soul comes to 
some measure of confession of sin : O Lord, I have done ex- 
ceeding wickedly ; I have been worse than the horse that rush- 
eth into the battle because it sees not death before it ; but I 
have seen death before me in these ways, and yet go on, and still 
sin, and can not but sin. Behold me. Lord, for I am very vile. 
When thus the Spirit hath let into the soul a clear, real, constant 
light to see sin and death, now there is a thorough conviction. 

But you will say, In what measure doth the Spirit communi- 
cate this light? 

I shall therefore open the fourth particular, viz. : The meas- 
ure of spiritual conviction in all the elect, viz., so much con- 
viction of sin as may bring in and work compunction for sin ; so 
much sight of sin as may bring in sense of sin : so much is ne- 
cessary, and no more. Every one hath not the same measure of 
conviction ; yet all the elect have and must have so much ; for 
so much conviction is necessary as may attain the end of convic- 
tion. Now, the finia proxinuis, or next end, of conviction in the 
elect, is compunction or sense of sin ; for what good can it do 
unto them to see sin, and not to be affected with it? What 
greater mercy doth the Lord show to the elect therein than 
unto the devils and reprobates who stand convinced, and know 
they are wicked and condemned, but yet their hearts altogether 
unaffected with any true remorse for sin ? " Mine eye," saith 
Jeremy, " affect etli my heart." The Lord opens the ears of men 
and sealeth instruction, that he may hide pride from man. Some 
think that there is no thorough conviction without some affection. 
I dare not say so, nor will I now dispute whether there is not 
something in the nature and essence of that conviction the elect 
have different from that conviction in reprobates and devils. It 
is sufficient now, and that which teacheth the end of this ques- 
tion, to know what measure of conviction is necessary. I con- 
ceive the clear discerning of it is by the immediate and sensible 
effect of it, viz., so much as affects the heart truly with sin. 

But if you ask, What is that sense of sin, and what measure 


of this is necessary ? that I shall answer in the doctrine of com- 

Let not therefore any soul be discouraged, and say, I was 
never yet convinced, because I have not felt such a clear, real, 
constant light to see sin and death as others have done. Con- 
sider thou if the end of conviction be attained, which is a true 
sense and feeling of sin, thou hast then that measure which 
is most meet for thee, more than which the Lord regards not 
in any of his. But you that walk up and down with convinced 
consciences, and know your states are miserable and sinful, and 
that you perish if you die in that condition, and yet have no sense 
nor feeling, no sorrow nor affliction of spirit for those evils, I tell 
thee the very devils are in some respects nearer the kingdom of 
God than you be, w^ho see, and feel, and tremble. Woe, woe to 
thousands that live under convicting ministries, whom the word 
often hits, and the Lord by the Spirit often meets ; and they 
hear and know their sins are many, their estates bad, and that 
iniquity will be their ruin if thus they continue ; yet all God's 
light is without heat, and it is but the shining of it upon rocks 
and cold stones ; they are frozen in their dregs. Be it known 
to you, you have not one drop of that conviction which begins 
salvation. Before I pass from this to the second work of com- 
punction, let me make a word of application. 

If the Spirit begins thus with conviction of sin, then let all 
the ministers of Christ co-work with Christ, and begin with their 
people here ; be faithful witnesses unto God's truth, and give 
warning to this secure world that the sentence of death is passed, 
and the curse of God lies upon every man for the least sin. " Lift 
up thy voice like a trumpet," was the Lord's word to Isaiah, (Is. 
Iviii. 2,) " and tell them their sin." Those bees we call drones 
that have lost their sting. When the salt of the earth (the min- 
isters of Christ, Matt, v.) have lost their acrimony and sharp- 
ness, or saltness, what is it good for but to be cast out ? Our 
hearers will putrefy and corrupt by hearing such doctrines only 
as never search. When the Lord inflicted a grievous curse upon 
the people, (Ezek. iii. 26,) the Lord made Ezekiel dumb that 
he should not be a reprover to them. What was the lamentation 
of .Jeremy ? " Thy prophets have seen vain and foolish things 
for thee, and have not discovered thine iniquity." How would 
you have the Lord Jesus by his Spirit to convince men ? Must 
it not be by his word ? Verily you keep the Spirit of Christ 
from falling down upon the people if you refuse to endeavor to 
convince the people by your word. Other doctrines are sweet 
and necessary; but this is in the first place most necessary. 


Beware of personating, beware of bitterness and passion ; but 
O, convince with a spirit of power and compassion ; and he that 
shall be instrumental unto Christ in this or any other work for 
Christ's sake, unto him the Lord will be the principal agent, and 
by him will attain his own ends, finish his great work, gather 
in his scattered sheep who are in great multitudes throughout 
the kingdom scattered from him, if once they be thoroughly 
convinced that they are utterly lost, and gone out of the way. 

May not this also be sad reproof and terror to them that stand 
it out against all means of conviction, and will not see their 
sin, nor believe the fearful wrath of God due to them for sin ? 
Not a man scarce can be found that will come to this - conclu- 
sion : I am a sinful man, and therefore I am dead ; I am a con- 
demned man ; but, like wild beasts, fly from their pursuers into 
their holes, and thickets, and dens — their sinful extenuations, 
excuses, and apologies for sin and for themselves ; and if they 
be hunted thither, and found out there, then they resist, and arti- 
cle against that truth which troubles them. " They flatter them- 
selves in their own eyes until their iniquities be found most 
hateful." Many a man dislikes the text, the use, especially the 
long use, wherein his sin is touched, and- his conscience tossed — 
especially if it be his darling sin, his Herodias, his Rimmon — 
especially if withal he thinks that the minister means him, he 
will not see it nor confess it — especially if he apprehends he 
shall lose his honor, or his silver shrines, and profit by it. He 
will not see his sin that he may not be troubled in conscience 
for his sin, that so he may not be forced to confess and for- 
sake his sin, and condemn himself for it before God and men. 
O Lord, I mourn that I can scarce meet with a man that either 
cares to be, or will be, convinced, but hath something always to 
say for himself: their sins are not so great, they are not so 
bad, but have some good, and therefore have some hope ; and, 
if God be merciful, it is no great matter though they be exceed- 
ing sinful, or some such thing ; their mouths are not stopped 
to say any thing for themselves but guilty. There is less con- 
viction in the world in this age than many are aware of; for I 
believe that all the powers of hell conspire together to blind men's 
eyes and darken men's minds in this great work of Christ. 
Principiis ohsta. It is policy to stop Christ in his entrance in 
this first stroke upon the soul ; but O, little do you think what 
you do herein, and what woe you work to yourselves hereby. 
Dost thou stifle and resist the first breathings of Christ's Spirit 
when he comes to save thee ? What hurt will it be to know the 
worst of thy condition now, when there is hope hereby of coming 


out of it, who must else one day see all thy " sins in order before 
thee," to thy eternal anguish and terror? (Ps. 1. 21,) When the 
Lord shall say unto thee as to Dives, " Remember in thy life- 
time thou hadst thy good things," remember such a time, such a 
place, such a sin ; which then you would not see. But now thou 
shalt see what it is to strike an infinite God. Remember thou 
wast forewarned of wrath to come, but thou wouldest not believe 
thyself accursed, that so thou mightest have felt thy need of Him 
that was made a curse to bless thee ; and therefore feel it now : 
O, you will wish then that you had known this evil in that your 
day. What dost thou talk of grace ? thou thinkest thou hast 
grace, when as thou hast not the first beginning, nay, not the most 
remote preparation for it in this work of conviction : what should 
we do for such as these, but with Jeremy, (Jer. xiii. 17,) "If 
you will not hear, my soul shall weep in secret for your pride " ? 

0, be persuaded, therefore, to remember your sins past, and to 
consider of your ways now. All the profaneness of thy heart and 
life, all the vanity of thy youth, (Eccl. xi. 9,) all your secret sins, 
all your sins against light and love, checks and vows ; all that 
time wherein thou didst nothing else but live in sin ; thus God's 
people have done, (Ezek. vi. 9.,) thus all the elect shall do. O, 
consider the Lord remembers them all, and that with grief of 
heart against thee, because thou forgettest them. (Hos. ii. 7.) He 
that numbers thy hairs, and tells the sparrows that fall, numbers 
much more thy sins that fall from thefi ; they are written down in 
his black book. They are no trifles, for he minds not toys ; the 
books must be opened. O, reckon now you have yet time to call 
them to mind, which it may be shall not continue long ; it is the 
Lord's complaint (Jer. viii. 6) of a wicked generation, " that 
he could hear no man say. What have I done ? " " Winnow your- 
selves," (as the word is, Zeph. ii. 1,) " O people not worthy to be 
beloved." I pronounce unto you from the eternal God, that ere 
long the Lord will search out Jerusalem with candles ; he will 
come with a sword in his hand to search for all secure sinners in 
city and country, unless you awaken ; he will make inquisition for 
blood, for oaths, for whoremongers, which grow common ; for all 
secret sins we are frozen up in. O, be willing, be bivt willing that 
the Lord should search you and convince you, now in this evening 
time of the day, before the night come, wherein it will be too late 
to say, I wish I had considered of my ways in time : of all sins, 
none can so hardly stand with uprightness as a secret unwilling- 
ness to see and be convinced of sin. (John iii. 20, 21.) The helps 
and means for attaining hereunto are these : — 

Bring thy soul to the light, desire the Lord in prayer, as Job 
VOL. I. 12 


did. " What I see not, Lord, show me." (Job xxxiv. 32.) Set 
tlie glass of God's law before thee ; look up in the ministry of the 
word unto the Lord, and say, O Lord, search me : the sun of this 
holy word discovers motes : on the Sabbath day attend to all that 
which is spoken as spoken unto thee ; then examine thyself when 
thou hast leisure. "When David saw (Ps.xix.) how pure the law 
was, he cries out, " Who knows his errors ? " 

Look upon every conviction of thy conscience for sin as an 
arrest and warning given from the Lord himself; for sometimes 
the word hits, and conscience startles, and saith. This is my sin, my 
condition ; yet hoAV usual it is then for a man to put a merry face 
upon a foul conscience ! how oft do men think this is but the word 
of a man who hath a latitude given him of reproving sin in the 
pulpit, and we must give way to them therein ! or else their hearts 
rise and swell against the man and word also. And why is it 
thus ? Because he thinks it is man only that speaks ; whereas did 
he see and believe that this was a stroke, a warning, an arrest, a 
check from the omnipotent God, would he then grapple, think you, 
with him ? Would it pass lightly by him then ? When Eli heard 
Samuel denounced sad things against his house, " It is the Lord," 
said Eli. (1 Sam. iii. 18.) When Paul saw Jesus speaking, 
" AVhy persecutest thou me ? " (Acts ix.,) he falls down astonished, 
and dares not kick against the pricks any longer ; an arrest in 
the king's name comes with authority, and awes the heart of the 
man in debt. 

Do not judge of sin by any other rule but as God judgeth of 
it, according to the rule of the word by which all men's ways shall 
be judged at the last day. What made Saul (1 Sam. xv.) ex- 
tenuate his sin to Samuel ? He judged not of it as the Lord in his 
word did ; for had he done so, he would have seen disobedience 
to a command as bad as witchcraft, as Samuel told him ; which 
also made his proud heart sink, and say, I have sinned : remem- 
ber for this end these scriptures, (Rom. i. 18; Rom. ii. ; Rom. 
vi. 23 ; Gal. iii. 10,) by which thou mayest see, either I must die, 
(in the state I am,) or God himself must lie. Remember that an 
angry look or word is murder in God's account ; a wanton eye, 
an unchaste thought, is adultery before a holy God, before whose 
tribunal thou must give an account of every vain thought and 
word. And therefore do not judge of sin by the present pleas- 
ure, gain, honor, or ease in it ; for this is a false rule : Moses 
forsook the pleasures of sin for a season," (Heb. xi. 25 ;) nor 
yet by not feeling any punishment for it, for God reserves wrath 
(Nahum i. 2) till the day of reckoning ; nor yet by the esteem 
that others generally have of it, who make no more of wounding 


the Son of God by sin than they do of crushing vermin under 
their feet ; nor yet by the practice of others : Every man sins, 
and therefore I hope I shall do as well as others ; nor yet seeing 
thyself better, and thanking God thou art not as other men : it 
may be so, thou didst never steal, nor whore, nor murder as yet : 
that is not the question ; but hast thou had any one vain thought 
in prayer ? hast thou heard one sermon unprofitably ? hast thou 
sinned ? then know God spared not the angels that sinned, and 
how wilt thou escape, unless the Lord die for thee ? — nor yet, 
lastly, judge of it by thy own opinion of God, in thinking God 
is like unto thee, that as thou makest light of it, so he maketh 
less. (Ps. 1. 21.) O, take heed of judging the evil of sin by 
any of these rules : 0, remember all men are apt to think of 
themselves better than they are : " Are we also blind ? " say the 
Pharisees : take heed that by judging of sin by these false rules 
you deceive not yourselves. 

Let this, lastly, be a use of thankfulness to all those whose eyes 
the Lord hath opened to see, and so convincing you of your sins. 
When David was going, in the heat of his spirit, to kill Nabal, and 
Abigail met him and stopped him, what said he ? " O, blessed 
be the Lord for thy counsel ; " so when thou wert going on, in the 
heat and pursuit of thy sin, toward eternal death, that the Lord 
should now meet thee in thy way, and convince thee of thy folly, 
and so stop thee, what a world of sin else wouldst thou have com- 
mitted ! how vile wouldest thou have been ! O, say, therefore, 
Blessed be that minister of the Lord, and blessed forever be the 
name of the Lord that gave me that counsel. It is said, Christ 
will " send the Comforter to convince of sin : " is it a comfortable 
thing to see sin ? Yes, it shall one day be matter of unspeakable 
comfort to you that ever you saw sin ; that ever he showed thee 
that mystery of iniquity in thy heart and life, those arcana im- 
perii, those secrets of the power and dominion of sin over thee : 
Thou shalt not hate, but reprove thy brother. If the Lord should 
secretly keep thy sin glowing in his own bosom against thee, and 
never reprove thee for it, nor convince thee of it, no greater 
sign of God's everlasting hatred against thee. O, it is infinite love 
that he hath called thee aside and dealt plainly and secretly with 
thee, and will you not be thankful for this ? The Lord might 
have left thee in thy brutish estate, and never made known thy 
latter end ; never have told thee of thy sin or flood before it comes. 

It may be you will say. If I felt my sin, and were deeply hum- 
bled for it, I could then be thankful that ever I saw it : what is it 
to see sin ? 

This is a favor the Lord shows not to all mankind ; many have 


no means to bring them to the knowledge of it, and those that 
have yet are smitten with a deep sleep under those means, that 
they know not when death is at their doors, nor what sin means ; 
and this, it may be, is the condition of some of thy poor friends 
and acquaintance, that think it strange that thou runnest not with 
them in the same way as they do. 

Suppose some reprobates do see sin ; yet the Lord puts a secret 
virtue in that work of conviction upon thee, which makes thee cry 
to Heaven for a spirit of brokenness for sin, which, without this 
sight of sin, thou wouldest never so much as have desired ; and 
this they have not. 

However, conviction is a work of the Spirit, though it should 
be but common ; and wilt not thou be thankful for common mercy, 
suppose it be outward ? How much more for this that is spiritual, 
though it should be common ! especially considering that it is the 
first fundamental work of the Spirit, and is seminally all. Sense 
of sin begins here, and ariseth hence ; as ignorance of sin is sem- 
inally all sin. Remember that the discovery of Faux in the vault 
was the preservation of England : we use to remember the day 
and hour of the beginning of some great and notable deliverance : 
O, remember this time, wherein the love of Christ first brake out 
in convincing thee of thy sin, who else hadst certainly perished 
in it. And thus much of this first work of conviction. Now the 
second follows — compunction. 

Section HI. 

The second Act of Chrisfs Power, in worlcing Compunctio7iy or 
Sense of Sin. 

Compunction, pricking at the heart, or sense and feeling of 
sin, is different from conviction of sin : the latter is the work of 
the understanding, and seated in that principally ; the other is in 
the affections and will, and seated therein principally : a man 
may have sight of sin without sorrow and sense of it. (Dan. v. 
22, with 20, 21. James i. 24. Rom. ii. 20, 21.) Yet that con- 
viction which the Spirit works in the elect is ever accompanied 
with compunction, first or last. For the better unfolding this 
point, let me open these four things to you : — 

1. That compunction or sense of sin immediately follows con- 
viction of sin in the day of Christ's power. 

2. The necessity of this work to succeed the other. 

3. Wherein it consists. 

4. The measure of it in all the elect. 


That compunction follows conviction is evident from Scripture 
and reason. (Acts ii. 37.) When they heard this, that is, when 
they saw and were convinced of their sin in crucifying the Lord 
of life, which they did not imagine to be a sin before, what 
follows next ? It is said, " They were pricked at the heart." Lo, 
here is compunction. Ephraim, also, in turning unto God, (Jer. 
xxxi. 19,) hath these words: "After that I was instructed, I smote 
upon my thigh," (as men in great calamity befallen them use to 
do.) " I was ashamed, even confounded, because I did bear the 
reproach of my youth." The men of Nineveh hearing by the 
prophet they were all to die within forty days, it is said " they 
believed God," (in the work of conviction,) and then they fell to 
sackcloth and ashes, (in the work of compunction,) which did 
immediately follow. Josiah, (2 Chron. xxxiv. 27,) in his renewed 
return unto God, after he heard the words of the law, " his heart 
melted, and he wept before the Lord." For what is the end of 
conviction ? Is it not compunction ? for if the Lord should let a 
man see his sin, and death for sin, and yet suffer the heart to 
remain hard and unaffected, the Lord did but leave him without 
excuse ; nay, the Lord should but leave him under great misery, 
and under a more fearful judgment, viz., for a man to see and 
know his sin, and yet unaffected with it, and hardened under it : 
hardness of heart is one of the greatest judgments ; to see sin, 
and not to be affected with it, argues greater hardness. For it 
is no wonder if they that see not and know not sin remain sense- 
less of sin ; alas ! they know not what. they do ; but for a man to 
be enlightened, and see his sin, and yet unaffected. Lord, how 
great is this hardness, and how unexcusable will such a man be 
left before God, when the Lord shall reckon with him for his 
hardness of heart! What is the end of that light the Lord 
lets into the understanding in other things ? Is it not that there- 
by the heart might be affected throughly with it? Why doth 
the Lord let in the light of the knowledge of Christ and of his 
will ? Is it that this knowledge should, like froth, float in the 
understanding, and be imprisoned there ? No, verily, but that 
the heart might be throughly and deeply affected therewith. 
And do you think the Lord will, in the light of conviction, im- 
prison it up in the mind ? Is there not a further end that by 
this light the heart might be deeply affected with sin ? If any 
say that the end of conviction is to drive the soul to Christ, I 
grant that is the remote and last end of it ; but the next end is 
compunction. For if the understanding be convinced of misery, 
and the heart remain hard, the mind may see indeed that right- 
eousness and life only are to be had in Christ ; yet the heart 
12 * 


remaining hard, the will and affections will never stir toward 
Christ ; it is impossible a hard heart, remaining such, wholly un- 
affected with sin or misery, should be truly affected with Jesus 
Christ ; but of this more hereafter. 

What necessity is there of this compunction, to succeed convic- 
tion? I speak now of necessity in way of ordinary dispensation, 
not of God's usual and extraordinary way of working, where he 
useth neither law nor gospel (as ordinarily he doth) to work 
by. Many have been nibbling lately at this doctrine, and de- 
manded, What need is there of sorrow and compunction of 
heart ? A man may be converted only by the gospel, and God 
may let in sweetness and joy without any sense of sin or misery, 
and in my experience I have found it so ; others, godly and 
gracious, also feel it so; why, therefore, do any press such a 
necessity of coming in by this back door unto Christ ? This 
point I conceive is very weighty, and much danger in denying 
the truth of it ; yet, withal, there needs much tenderness in 
handling of it, lest any stumble ; and therefore, before I lay 
down the reasons to show the necessity of it, give me leave to 
propound these rules both for the clearing of the point, and 
answering sundry objections usually about this point : — 

In this work of compunction, do not think that the Lord hath 
not wrought any true sense of sin, because you find it not in 
such a measure as you imagine you should desire to have, and 
that others feel ; sense of sin admits degrees. I doubt not but 
Joseph's brethren were humbled ; yet Joseph must be more ; he 
must be cast into the ditch, and into the prison, and the iron 
must enter not only into his legs, but into his soul. (Ps. cv. 18.) 
He must be more afflicted in spirit, because he was to do greater 
work for God, and was to be raised up higher than the rest, and 
therefore did need the more ballast : some are educated more 
civilly than _ others, and thereby have contracted less guilt and 
stoutness of heart against God and his ways ; therefore these 
have not such cause of trouble ; and being less rugged, have less 
need of axes to hew them : some men's sorrow breaks in upon 
them more suddenly, like storms and breaches of the sea, and 
the Lord is resolved to hasten and finish his work in them more 
speedily, and it may be more exemplarily, (for every Christian 
is not a fair copy,) as in those. Acts ii. 37. In others their 
sorrows soak in by degrees ; Gutta cavat lapidem ; the Lord 
empties them by continual droppings, and hence feel not that 
measure of sorrow that others do : every Christian is not a 
Heman, (Ps. Ixxxviii.,) who suffers "distracting fears and terrors 
from his youth up," (ver. 15,) who is " afl3.icted with all God's 


ways," (ver. 7,) for he was a man of exceeding high parts and 
gifts, as you may see, 1 Kings iv. 31 ; and therefore the Lord 
had need of hanging some special plummets on his heart to keep 
it ever low, lest it should be lifted up above measure. Some 
sense of sin the Lord will work in all he saves, but not the same 
measure ; the Lord gives not always unto his that which is good 
in itself, (it is good, I confess, to be deeply affected and humbled,) 
but that which is fit, and therefore best for thee. 

Do not think there is no compunction or sense of sin wrought 
in the soul because you can not so clearly discern and feel it, 
nor the time of the working and first beginning of it. I have 
known many that have come with complaints — they were never 
humbled, they never felt it so, nor yet could tell the time when 
it was so ; yet there hath been, and many times they have seen 
it, by the help of others' spectacles, and blessed God for it. When 
they in Isaiah Ixiii. 17, complained, " Lord, why hast thou hard- 
ened our hearts from thy fear ? " do you think there was no 
softness nor sensibleness indeed? Yes, verily, but they felt 
nothing but a hard heart; nay, such hardness as if the Lord had 
plagued them with it by his own immediate hand, and not born 
and bred with them only, as with other men. Many a soul may 
think the Lord hath left it, nay, smitten it with a hard heart, and 
so make his moan of it; yet the Lord hath wrought real softness, 
under self-hardness, as many times in reprobates there is felt 
softness when within there is real hardness. The stony ground 
hearers were ploughed and broken on the top, but were stony 
at the bottom. Some men may be wounded outwardly and 
mortally ; this may easily be discerned. The Lord may wound 
others, and they may bleed out ; their sorrow is more inwardly 
and secret, and therefore can not point with their finger to the 
wound as others can. 

Do not think the Lord works compunction in all the elect in 
the same circumstantial work of the Spirit, but only in the same 
substantial work ; the Lord works a true sense of sin for sub- 
stance and truth of it, yet there are many circumstantial works, 
like so many enlargements and comments upon one and the 
same text. Ex. gratia, the same sin that affects Paul, it may 
be, doth not affect Lydia or Apollos. The same notions for the 
aggravation of sin in one do not come into the mind of the 
other ; the same complaints, and prayers, and turnings of spirit 
in the one, may not be in the same circumstances, and with the 
like effects, as in the other, and yet both of them feel sin, and 
therefore complain ; they both feel sin, yet by means of various 
apprehensions and aggravations. This I speak, because you 


may the better understand the meaning of God's servants in 
opening the work of humiliation. You may hear them say, The 
soul doth this, and thinks that, and speaks anotlier thing ; it may 
be every one does not so think in the same individual circum- 
stances, and therefore is to be understood as producing only 
exeinplum in re simili : something like this, or for the substance 
of this, is here wrought. 

In this work of compunction we must not bring rules unto 
men, but men to rules ; crook not God's rules to the experience 
of men, (which is fallible, and many times corrupt,) but bring 
men unto the rule, and try men's estates herein by that ; for 
many will say some men are not humbled at all, never had any 
precedent sorrow for sin, God's mercy only hath melted their 
hearts ; and experience proves this, and many find this, who are 
sincere and gracious Christians. 

I answer, We are not in this or any other point to be guided 
by the experience of men only, but attend the rule ; if it be 
proved that according unto the rule men must be broken and 
affected with their sin and misery before mercy can be truly 
apprehended or Christ accepted. What tell you me of such or 
such men ? Let the rule stand, but let men stand or fall accord- 
ing 'to the rule ; many are accounted gracious and godly for a 
time, much affected with mercy and Christ Jesus ; yet afterward 
fall or wizen into nothing, and prove very unsound. 

What is the reason ? 

Truly the cause was here : their first wound and sorrow for 
sin was not right, as hereafter shall be made good ; many thou- 
sands are miserably deceived about their estates by this one 
thing, of crooking and wresting God's rules to Christians' expe- 
rience. Let all God's servants tremble and be wary here ; 
rack not the Holy Scriptures, nor force them to speak as thou 
feelest, but try all things by them. (1 Thess. v. 2L) 

Do not make the examples of converted persons in Scripture 
patterns in all things of persons unconverted ; do not make God's 
work upon the one run parallel with God's work upon the other. 

Some say that many in Scripture are converted to Christ 
without any sorrow for sin, and produce the examples of Lydia, 
whose heart God sweetly opened to receive Christ ; and the 
eunuch, (Acts viii.,) converted in the same manner. 

I answer. These are examples of persons converted to God 
before, who did believe in the Messiah, but did not know that 
this Jesus v>^as the Messiah, which they soon did when the Lord 
>(^nt the means to reveal Christ; and therefore Lydia, a Jewish 
proselyte, is called a worshiper of God, (Acts xvi. 1 4,) and so 


was the eunuch, (Acts viii. 27 ;) and in the same condition was 
the centurion, (Acts x. 2,) who feared God, and whose prayers 
were accepted, (ver. 4,) (which can not be without faith) yet did 
not know that this Jesus crucified was the Messiah, until Peter 
came unto him. So that, suppose here was no sense or sorrow 
for sin, at this time ; doth it therefore follow they never had 
any when the Lord at first wrought upon them ? are these ex- 
amples in persons converted fit to show forth God's work in 
persons unconverted ? In some things, indeed, they are examj^les, 
in others not so ; their examples of believing in Christ are not 
in that act examples of sorrow for want of Christ. And yet let 
me add, to say that God opened Lydia's heart to believe in 
Christ, and yet opened not her heart to lament her sin and 
misery in her estate without Christ, (suppose she were w^ithout 
Christ,) is more than can be proved from the text ; for it is said 
her heart was opened to attend unto the things that were spoken 
by Paul; and can any think that Paul, or an apostle, ever 
preached Christ without preaching the need men had of him ? 
and could any preach their need of Christ without preaching 
men's undone and sinful estate without Christ ? and do you think 
that Lydia was not made to attend unto this ? do you think that 
when Philip came to open the fifty-third chapter of Isaiah to 
the eunuch, that " Christ was bruised for our iniquities ; " that 
he did not let him understand the infinite evil of sin and misery 
of all sinners, and of him in special, unless the Lord Jesus was 
bruised for him ? 

In examples recorded in the Scripture of God's converting 
grace, do not think they had no sorrow for sin, because it is not 
distinctly and expressly set down in all places ; for the Scripture 
usually sets down matters very briefly ; it oftentimes supposeth 
many things, and refers us to judge of some by other places ; as 
(Acts vi. 7) it is said, " many of the priests were obedient to the 
faith : " doth it therefore follow that they did immediately believe, 
without any sense of sin? Look to a fuller example, (Acts ii.,) 
and then we may see, as the one were converted to the faith, 
so were the other, having a hand in the same sin. (1 Tim. 
i. 13, 14,) Paul, he was a "persecutor, but the Lord received 
him to mercy ; " and that " God's grace was abundant in faith and 
love," doth it hence follow that Paul had no castings down, be- 
cause not mentioned here ? If we look upon Acts ix., we shall 
see it otherwise. 

Do not judge of general and common workings of the Spirit 
upon the souls of any to be the beginnings of effectual and special 
conversion ; for a man may have some inward and yet common 


knowledge of the gospel, and Christ in it, before there be any 
sorrow for sin ; yet it doth not hence follow that the Lord 
begins not wnth compunction and sorrow, because common work 
is not special and effectual work ; when the Spirit thus comes, he 
first begins here, as we shall prove. 

The terrors, and fears, and sense of sin and death be in them- 
selves afflictions of soul, and of themselves drive from Christ ; 
yet in the hand of Christ, by the power of the Spirit, they are 
made to lead, or rather drive unto Christ, which is able to turn 
mourning into joy, as well as after mourning to give joy ; and 
therefore it is a vain thing to think there is no need of such 
sorrows which drive from Christ, and that Christ can w^ork well 
enougli therefore without them ; when as by the mighty power 
and riches of mercy in Christ, the Lord by wounding, nay, killing 
his of all their carnal security and self-confidence, saves all his 
alive, and drives them to seek for life in the Son. 

These things thus premised, let us now hear of the necessity of 
this work to succeed conviction. 

Else a sinner will never part with his sin ; a bare conviction 
of sin doth but light the candle to see sin ; compunction burns 
his fingers, and that only makes him dread the fire. " Cleanse 
your hands, ye sinners, and purify your hearts, ye double-minded " 
men, saith the apostle James, (chap. iv. 8.) But how should this 
be done ? He answers, (ver. 9,) " Be afflicted, and mourn, and 
weep; turn your laughter into mourning. " So Joel ii. 12. The 
prophet calls upon his hearers to turn from their sin unto the Lord ; 
but how ? " Rend your hearts, and not your garments." Not that 
they were able to do this, but by what sorrow he requires of all in 
general ; he thereby effectually works in the hearts of all the elect 
in particular ; for every man naturally takes pleasure, nay, all his 
delight and pleasure is in nothing else but sin ; for God he hath 
none, but that. Now, so long as he takes pleasure in sin, and 
finds contentment by sin, he can not but cleave inseparably to it. 
O, it is^sweet, and it only is sweet; for so long as the soul is dead 
in sin, " pleasure in sin is death in sin." (1 Tim. v. 6.) So long 
as it is dead in sin, it is impossible it should part with sin ; no 
more than a dead man can break the bonds of death. And 
therefore it undeniably follows, that the Lord must first put gall 
and w^ormwood to these dugs, before the soul will cease sucking, 
or be weaned from them ; the Lord must first make sin bitter, 
before it will part with it ; load it wath sin, before it will sit 
down and desire ease. And look, as the pleasure in sin is exceed- 
ing sweet to a sinner, so the sorrow^ for it must be exceeding 
bitter, before the soul will part from it. 


It is true, I confess, a man sometime may part with sin with- 
out sorrow ; the unclean spirit may go out for a time, before he 
is taken, bound, and slain by the power of Christ. But such a 
kind of parting is but the washing of the cup ; it is unsafe and 
unsound, and the end of such a Christian will be miserable : for 
a man to hear of his sin, and then to say, 1 will do no more so, 
without any sense or sorrow for it, would not have been ap- 
proved by Paul, if he had seen no more in the careless Corin- 
thians, in tolerating the incestuous person ; but their sorrow 
wrought this repentance. No, the Lord abhors such whorish 
wiping the lips ; and therefore the same apostle, when he 
reproves them for not separating the sinner, and so the sin from 
them, he sums it up in one word : " You have not mourned, that 
such a one might be taken from you ; " because then sin is sev- 
ered truly from the soul, when sorrow or shame, some sense and 
feeling of the evil of it, begins it. Not only sin is opposite to 
God, but when the Lord Jesus first comes near his elect in 
their sinful estate, they are then enemies themselves by sin unto 
God. And hence it is they will never part with their weap- 
ons, until themselves be thoroughly wounded ; and therefore the 
Lord must wound their consciences, minds, and hearts, before they 
will cast them by. Now, if there be no parting with, no separa- 
tion from sin, but sin is as strong, and the sinner as vile, as ever 
before, hath Christ (who now comes to save his elect from sin) 
the end of his work ? What is the man the better for conviction, 
affection to Christ, name what you can, that remains still in his 
sins ? When the apostle would sum up all the misery of men, 
he doth it in those words, " Ye are yet in your sin." So I say, 
thou art convicted, but art yet in thy sin ; art affected with 
Christ, and takest hold of Christ, but art yet in thy sin : " He 
that confesseth and forsaketh his sin shall find mercy." 

You will say. May not the sweetness of Christ in the gospel, 
and sense of mercy, separate from sin, without any compunction.'^ 

I answer, 1'. Sense of mercy and Christ's sweetness (I con- 
ceive) serve principally to draw the soul unto Christ. (Jer. 
xxxi. 3,) " With loving kindness have I drawn thee." But 
compunction or sense of sin principally serves, in the hand of 
Christ, to turn the soul from sin. Aversion from sin is distinct 
from, and in order goes before, our conversion unto God. 

2. Sense of the sweetness of God's grace in Christ keeps out 
sin, but it doth not thrust out sin at first. 

3. Christ can not be effectually sweet, unless sin be first made 
bitter ; there may be some general notice of Christ's excellency, 
and some thirty pieces given for him ; some esteem of his grace, 


and hope of his mercy, which may occasion sorrow ; but I dare 
not say, that this is any sound or thorough work, till after sor- 
row. (Is. 1. 4.) Christ hath "the tongue of the learned given him 
to speak a word in season." Unto whom ? It is added, " unto 
the weary ; " they are the men that will prize mercy, and they 
only to purpose ; they that have felt the bitterness of sin and 
wrath find it exceeding hard to prize Christ, and to taste his 
sweetness ; how shall they do it indeed that find none at all ? 
Sweetness before sense of sin is like cordials before purging of 
a foul stomach ; which usually strengthen the humor, but recover 
not the man. 

Because, without this, no man will either care for Christ, or 
feel a need of Christ ; a man may see a want of Christ by the 
power of conviction, but he will never feel a need of Christ, but 
by the spirit of compunction. " The whole need not the physi- 
cian, but they that are sick." A whole man may see his want of 
a physician, but a sick man only feels his need of him, will prize 
him, send for him. By the whole you are not to understand 
such as have no need indeed of Christ, (for what sinner but hath 
need of him ?) but such as feel no need of him ; as by sick can 
not be meant such as are sinful and miserable, for then Christ 
should come actually to save all men ; but those that did feel 
themselves so, as a sick man that feels his sickness : these only 
are the men that feel a need and necessity of Christ ; these only 
will come to Christ, and be glad of Christ, and be truly thankful 
for their recovery of Christ. And hence ariseth the great sin 
of the world in despising the gospel, not at all affected with the 
glad tidings of it, because they are not affected with their sin 
and misery ; or if they be affected but in part with the gospel, 
it is because they are not throughly affected with their misery 

And hence it is, that when the Lord called his people to him, 
yet they would not come to him, because they were the Lord's, 
and well enough without him. Why did not they come to the 
supper, being invited ? It was because they had farms, and oxen, 
and wives to attend unto ; they felt no need of coming, as the 
poor, lame, blind, and halt did. The prodigal cares not for fa- 
ther nor father's house, until he comes to see. Here I die. It 
is true, the grace of the gospel draws men unto Christ ; but it is 
very observable, that the gospel reveals no grace but with respect 
and in reference unto sinners, and men in extreme misery ; the 
gospel saith not that Christ is come to save, but to save sin- 
ners, and to save his people from their sins. It reveals not this, 
that God justifies men, but he justifies the ungodly ; it reveals 


not this, that Christ died for us, but that he died for them that were 
weak, for sinners, for enemies. And if so, can any man imagine 
that this news will be sweet, unless men see and feel the infinite 
misery of sin, and th-e fruits of it ? Will not men say or think, 
What great matter is there in that ? Suppose we be sinners and 
enemies, yet we are well enough ; before Christ comes, a man's 
life lies in his sin. Now, suppose any should proclaim to a com- 
pany of men the great favor of their prince toward them, that 
he is such a gracious prince as will take away all their lives ; 
will this be glad tidings? Gospel grace can not be set out, 
much less felt, but in reference to sin and misery, which must 
be first felt, before it can be sweet. Because Christ will never 
come but only unto such as feel their misery ; for you will say, 
A man may come to Christ without it : I say again, If he doth, 
(as he hath many followers,) yet Christ will not come to him, 
nor commit himself to him : " I came not to call the righteous, 
but sinners, to repentance;" in whicii place note, that as by the 
righteous is not meant such as are sincerely so, but such as 
think and feel themselves so ; so by sinners is not meant all 
manner of impenitent and hard-hearted sinners, but such as 
think and feel themselves such, and lament under it : now, God 
the Father sent him only unto such ; he is sent not to heal the 
hard-hearted, but the broken-hearted ; indeed, he is sent to 
make men broken hearted who have hard hearts ; but he is not 
sent to heal them until then ; the Lord leaves the ninety-nine 
that need no repentance to wilder forever ; the one lost sheep, 
who feels itself so, and feels a need of a Saviour to come and 
find it out, who can not come and find out him, the Lord Jesus 
will come unto, and unto him only, leaving all the ninety-nine. 
This may lastly appear by considering the end of man's fall 
into sin, and the publishing of the law to reveal sin ; and of the 
gospel also in reference unto sin and misery. Why did the Lord 
suffer the fall of man ? What was his great plot in it ? It is 
apparent this, that thereby way might be made for the greater 
manifestation of God's grace in Christ, The serpent poisons all 
mankind, that the seed of the woman might have the glory of 
recovering some : this was God's last end ; the perdition of 
some (of themselves) being but subordinate unto this. (Rom. ix. 
22, 23.) Surely Adam might have glorified grace if he had 
stood, and God had revealed his grace in preserving him (made 
mutable) from fall. But the Lord saw grace should not be suf- 
ficiently advanced to its highest dignity by this, and therefore 
suffers him actually to fall, and that into an extreme depth of 
misery. Now, consider man's fall in itself can not be a n\ean of 
VOL. I. 13 


glorifying grace, but rather obscures all the glory of God. How 
shall the Lord attain his end then hereby ? Truly, if the Lord 
let men see and feel their fall and misery by it, now grace 
offered will be accepted and glorified. And therefore the Lord 
sends the law to reveal sin, and make it exceeding sinful, and 
death for sin, that this end might be attained. (Gal. iii. 22.) 
And therefore feeling of sin, and death, and misery, being the 
means, must precede the other as the end ; and therefore, as 
grace may be seen by conviction of misery, so the sweetness 
of it only can be felt by feeling misery in this work of com- 

But you will say, "What is this compunction, and wherein doth 
it consist ? 

This is the third particular to be opened ; in general it is 
whereby the soul is affected with sin, and made sensible of sin ; 
but more particularly, compunction is nothing else but a prick- 
ing of the heart, or the wounding of the soul with such fear and 
sorrow for sin and misery as severs the soul from sin, and from 
going on toward its eternal misery ; so that it consists in three 
things : — 

1. Fear. 2. Sorrow. 3. Separation from sin. 

The Lord Jesus when he comes to rescue his elect, look as 
Satan held them in their misery : First, by blinding their eyes 
from seeing of it ; secondly, by hardening their hearts from 
feeling of it : so the Lord Jesus, having cut asunder the first cord 
of Satan by conviction, breaks asunder the second by compunc- 
tion, and causing the soul to feel and be affected with its misery ; 
and as the whole soul is unaffected before he comes, so he makes 
the whole soul sensible when he comes, and therefore he fills the 
conscience with fear, and the heart with sorrow and mourning, 
so as now the will of sin is broken, which was hardened before 
these fears and sorrows seized upon it. Let me open these par- 
ticularly, that you may taste and try the truth of what now I 

I say the Lord Christ, in this work of compunction, lets into the 
heart of a secure sinner a marvelous fear and terror of the 
direful displeasure of God, of death, and hell, the punishment of 
sin. O beloved, look upon most men at this day ; this is the great 
misery lying upon them — they do not fear the wrath to come, 
they fear not death nor damning, even then when they hear and 
know it is their portion ; but their hearts are set to sin. (Eccl. 
viii. 11.) 

The Lord Christ therefore lets in this fear, that look as the 
Lord when he comes to conquer the Canaanites, (Ex. xxiii. 


27, 28,) " he sent his hornets before him," which were certain 
tears, which made their hearts faint in the day of battle, and by 
this subdued them ; so the Lord Christ, when he comes to con- 
quer a poor sinner that hath long resisted him, and would go on 
to his own perdition, lets in these fears, that the soul shrinks in 
with the thoughts of its woful estate, and cries out secretly, 
Lord, what will become of me if I die in this condition ? Paul 
trembles, astonished at his misery and wickedness, and now he 
begins to cry out ; the jailer was very cruel against Paul, but 
when the Lord Jesus comes to rescue him from this condition, 
you shall see him trembling. The Lord had let in that fear, that 
now he is content to do any thing to be saved from the danger 
he saw he was now in : when a man sees danger, and great dan- 
ger, near and imminent, now man naturally fears it: before 
Christ come, the soul may see its misery, but it apprehends it 
far off, and hoping to escape it, and hence doth not fear it ; but 
when the Lord Jesus comes, he presents a man's danger, death, 
wrath, and eternity near unto him, and hence hath no hope to 
escape it, as noAv he is, and therefore doth fear ; and seeing the 
misery exceeding great, he hath an exceeding great (though oft- 
times deep) fear of it; as men near death, and apprehending 
it so, begin then to be troubled, and cry out when it is too late. 
The Lord Jesus deals more mercifully with the elect, and brings 
death and eternity near them before they draw near to it, whilst 
it is called to-day : the poor jailer began to think of killing him- 
self when fears were upon him ; and so many, under this stroke 
of Christ, have the same thoughts, because they see no hope ; 
but this measure is not in all; this work is in all. 

" Put them in fear, O Lord, that they may know they be but 
men." Before this fear conies, men are above God, and think 
they can stand it out against him ; the Lord therefore lets in this 
fear to make them know they be but men, and that as proud, 
and stout, and great as they are, yet that they are not above 
God, and that it is vain to kick against the pricks, and go on as 
they have done ; for if they do, he will not endure it long. " The 
spirit of bondage makes men fear." Before the Spirit of adoption 
comes, these fears therefore are such, as the regenerate, after 
they have received the Spirit of adoption, never have ; and there- 
fore they are such as pursue the soul with some threatening of 
the word, pronouncing death and perdition to him in that estate. 
Ex. gr., " He that believes not is condemned already : " thus 
the word speaks to conscience. (John iii. 17.) Thou believest 
not, saith a man's own conscience, the Spirit witnessing with it; 
therefore thou art condemned, saith conscience ; now the spirit 


of bqndage is the testimony of God's Spirit, witnessing to botii 
the premises and conclusion ; now, this Spirit no regenerate man, 
indeed, ever hath after this time ; bat the fears he hath arise 
from another principle of corruption of conscience and malice of 
Satan through the present desertion of the Spirit leaving him ; 
not from any positive witness of the Spirit of any such untruth, 
which yet is truth, while the soul is under this stroke, and not 
regenerate. Mark therefore diligently that this fear is the work 
of the Spirit of the Lord Jesus, and hence it follows, — 

1. That these fears are not merely natural, (as those Eom. ii. 
15,) arising from natural conscience only, which only accuse of 
sin, but never effect ; but they are supernatural ; they are arrows 
shot into the conscience by the arm of the Spirit, so dreadful 
that no word nor meditation of death and eternity can heget 
such fears, but creates them. 

2. Hence it follows that they are clear fears ; (for the Spirit's 
work is ever clear before he leaves it,) (Eph, v. 13 ;) they are not 
blind, confused fears, and suspicious and sad conjectures, where- 
by many a man is afraid, and much afraid, and affriglited like 
men in a dream, that think they are in hell, yet can not tell 
what that evil is which they fear ; but they are clear fears, 
whereby they distinctly know and see that they are miserable, 
and wdiat that misery is. 

3. Henee it follows that they are strong fears, because the 
almighty hand of the Spirit sets them on, and shakes the soul ; 
they are not weak fears, which a man can shake off, or cure by 
weak hopes, sleep, or busines's, etc., like some winds that shake 
the tree, but never blow it down ; but these fears cast down the 
tallest cedar, and appall the heart, and cool the courage and bold- 
ness of the most impenitent and audacious sinner; the Spirit 
presenting the greatest evil in eternal separation from God : 
hence no evil in the world is so dreadful as this. I had better 
never been born than to bear it, (saith the soul,) and hence casts 
off all other thoughts, and can not be quiet ; and hence it is 
that these fears force a man to fly and seek out for a better con- 
dition. A man like Lot lingers in his sin ; but these fears, like 
the angel, drive him violently out, the Lord saying to him. Away, 
for thy life, lest thou perish with the world, for thy sins are 
come up to heaven ; thou must die before one day be at an end, 
and then what will become of thee ? Ah, thou sinful, wi-etched 
man ! may not the Lord justly do it ? Are not thy sins grown 
so great and many that they are an intolerable burden for the 
soul of God to bear any longer ? And hence you shall observe, 
if the soul, after sad fears, grows bold and careless again, the 


Spirit pursues it with more cause of fear ; and now the soul 
cries out, Did the Lord ever elect thee ? Christ shed his blood 
to save his people from their sins ; thou livest yet in thy sins. 
Did he ever shed his blood for thee ? Thou hast sinned against 
conscience after thou hast been enlightened, and fallen back 
again. Hast not thou therefore committed the impardonable 
sin ? Thou hast had many a fair season of seeking God, but 
hast dallied and dreamt away thy time. Is not the day of grace 
therefore now past ? It is true the Lord is yet patient and 
bountiful, and lets thee live on common mercy ; but is not all 
this to aggravate thy condemnation against that great and ter- 
rible day of the Lord which is at hand ? Are there not better 
men in hell than thou art that never committed the like sin ? 
Thus the Spirit pursues with strong fears till proud man falls 
down to the dust before God. The soul is now under fears, not 
above them, and therefore can not come out of these chains by 
the most comfortable doctrine it hears, nor particular application 
of it by the most merciful minister in the world, until the Lord say, 
(as Lam. iii. 57,) " Fear not." The Lord only can assuage these 
strong winds and raging waters, in which there is no other cry 
heard of this soul tossed thus with tempests but O, I perish ! 
Only the Lord, making way for the Spirit of adoption by these 
in his elect, drives them out to seek if there be any hope : and 
so they are not properly desperate fears, yet, as I say, strong 
fears, not alike extensively, yet alike intensively, strong in all. 
A small evil, when tidings are brought of it, doth not fear; but if 
the evil be apprehended great and near too, the very suspicion 
of it makes the heart tremble. When a house is on fire, or a 
mighty army entered the land, and near the city, children that 
know not the greatness of the evil fear them not ; but men that 
know the danger are full of fear. The wrath of the Lord, that 
fire, those armies of everlasting woes, are great evils. The blind 
world may not much fear them ; but all the elect, whose minds 
are convinced to see the greatness of them, can not but fear, 
and that with strong and constant fears. Nor is it cowardice, 
but duty, to fear these everlasting burnings ; and hence the soul 
in this case wonders at the security of the world, dreads the ter- 
rors of the Lord that are near them, and usually seeks to awaken 
all its poor friends. I once thought myself well, and was quiet 
as you be ; but the Lord hath let me see my woe, which I can 
not but fear. O, look you to it. 

Thus the Lord works this fear in some in a greater, in others 
in a lesser, measure. Q, consider whether the Lord hath thus 
affected your hearts with fear. secure times, \Yhat will God 


do with US ? many of you having heard the voice of the lion 
roaring, and yet you tremble not. The Lord hath foretold you 
of death and eternal woe for the least sin. Do you believe it, 
and yet fear it not? How art thou then forsaken of God ? Many 
of you, that, like old mariners, can laugh at all foul weather, and, 
like weathercocks, set your foces against all wnnds ; and if you be 
damned at last, you can not help it ; you must bear it as well as 
you can : and do you hope to do it as well as others shall do ? 
O, how far are such from the kingdom of God, the Lord not 
yet working nor pricking thy heart so much as with fear ! 

2. Sorrow and mourning for sin is the second thing wherein 
compunction consists. And look, as fear plucks the soul from 
security in seeing no evil to come, so sorrow takes off the pres- 
ent pleasure and delight in sin in a greater measure than fear 
doth. The Lord therefore having smitten the soul, or shot the 
arrows of fear into the soul, it therefore grows exceeding sad 
and heavy, thinking within itself, What good do wife Or children, 
house or lands, peace and friends, health and rest, do me, in 
the mean time condemned to die, and that eternally ; it may be 
reprobated never to see God's face more ; the guilt and power 
of sin in heart and life lying still upon me ? And hereupon the 
soul mourns in the day, and in th« night desires to go alone and 
weep, and there confesseth its vileness before God, all the days 
of vanity and sins of ignorance, thinking, O, what have I done ! 
and seeks for mercy ; but not one smile, nothing but clouds of 
anger, appear ; and then thinks. If this anger, the fruit of my sin, 
be so great, O, what are my sins the cause hereof ! When the 
angel had set out the sin of the Israelites in making a league 
with the Canaanites, and told them that they should be thorns in 
their sides, they sat down, (ver. 4,) and lifted up their voices 
and wept. So it is with a contrite sinner. Note narrowly that 
eminent place of Scripture, (Is. Ixi. 3,) the Lord Christ is 
sent to " appoint beauty for ashes, and the oil of joy for the spirit 
of heaviness to them that mourn." Out of which note these four 
things for the expHcation of this sorrow or mourning : — 

First. It is such a mourning as is precedent unto spiritual 
joy. And hence it is not said, I wnll not give the spirit of glad- 
ness to beget mourning, (though the Lord doth so after conver- 
sion,) but this goes in order before that. Ephraim-like, who 
seeing what an unruly beast he had been, unaccustomed to God's 
yoke, smites upon his thigh, and bemoaiis himself. It is God's 
method (after God's people have sinned) to sad their hearts, and 
then to turn mourning into joy. Much more at first beginning 
of God's work upon the soul. They shall iirst mourn, and 


lament, and smite upon the thigh. If God wounds the soul for 
sin, it shall smart, and bleed too, before God will heal. 

Secondly. It is a great mourning, because it is called a spirit 
of mourning, as a spirit of slumber is a deep slumber. When 
the poor Jews shall be converted, their great sin shall then be 
presented before them of cursing and crucifying the Lord of 
life, as it was to those. Acts ii. 36. And by reason of this 
there shall be a great mourning, ' that they shall desire to go 
alone in secret, every one apart, and take their fill of mourning, 
before the Lord open the fountain of grace. It is not a sum- 
mer cloud, or an April shower, that is soon spent, but a great 
mourning; for, — 

1. Before this spirit of sorrow come, a man's heart takes great 
delight in his sin. It is his god, his life, and sweeter than 
Christ and all the joys of heaven, and therefore there must be 
great sorrow ; sin must be made exceeding bitter. A man that 
is very hungry and thirsty after his lust must find such meat 
and drink exceeding bitter, else he will feed on it. Solomon 
took great content in women ; but what saith he when the Lord 
humbled him ? "I find a woman more bitter than death.*' 
Hear this, you harlots, and you that live in your wanton lusts. 
The Lord will make your sweet morsels more bitter than death 
to you, if the Lord saves you. 

2. Because the greatest evils are the objects of this sorrow, 
viz.^ sin and death. It is true a man may mourn for smaller 
evils sooner ; but when the Spirit sets on the greatest evils, then 
they sad much 'more. "Mine iniquities are too heavy to bearV 
Why so ? Many a man can bear them without sinking. True, 
but in the elect the Spirit sets on, loads the soul herewith. " A 
wounded spirit who can bear ? " Because the greatest evils lie 
upon the most tender part of a tender soul, pressed down by 
the omnipotent hand of Christ's Spirit. For now the multitude 
of sins, more than the hairs on the head, come now to mind, as 
also the long continuance in them cradles sins. No sooner, saith 
the soul, did I begin to live but I began to sin. Obstinacy 
also in them lies very heavy. I have had warnings, checks, 
resolutions against them, and yet have gone on. The power 
of sin also sads it, that it is said, (Prov. xxi. 9,) " When the 
wicked reign, the people mourn." So doth the soul when it 
feels sin reign. I can not subdue it, nay, the Lord will not, 
that I fear the Lord hath left me over to it. The increase 
of sin it feels makes it mourn also. I grow worse and worse, 
saith the soul. The leak comes in faster than he can cast it 
out. The greatness of sin makes it mourn. Was there ever 


such a sinner as I ? And lastly, the sense of condemnation for 
sin lies upon him ; this is the fruit of your evil ways, saith the 
Spirit. The soul doth not let sin pass by it now as water down 
the mill, but being stopped by conviction and fear of the evil of 
it, it swells very high, and fills the heart full of grief and sorrow, 
that many times it is overwhelmed therewith. 

3. Because Christ will not be very sweet, unless this mourn- 
ing under misery be very great : the healing of a cut finger is 
sweet, but of a mortal wound is exceeding sweet ; a little sorrow 
will make Christ sweet, but great sorrow under sense of deadly 
wounds is exceeding sweet ; and without this Christ hath not his 
honor due to him, if he be not only sweet, but also exceeding 
sweet and precious. 

4. Because it is such a sorrow as nothing but that that hath 
wounded the soul can heal it. Let men have the greatest out- 
ward troubles, outward things can cure them, or else they will 
wear away. As if a man be sick, or in debt, physic and money 
can cure these ; but this wound neither can or ever shall be healed 
but by the hand that wounded it. And hence a man can take no 
comfort in meat, drink, sleep, friends, mirth, nor pastime, while 
this wound, this sorrow lasts ; for if any thing else can heal it, it is 
not the right wound, or sorrow, the Lord breeds in his elect. An 
adulterous heart, indeed, may be quieted with other lovers. Cain 
can build away his sorrow. Nay, I will say more : this wounded 
soul can not comfort itself by any promises till the Lord come : 
David had a promise of pardon from Nathan, yet he cries out to 
the Lord to make him hear the voice of joy or gladness, that his 
broken bones might rejoice. Did not the Lord make him hear 
the voice of joy by Nathan? Yes, outwardly ; but the Lord that 
had broke his bones must make him hear inwardly. Nay, when 
the Lord comes himself to comfort, much ado the Lord hath to 
make him hear it; as the Israelites that "hearkened not to Moses' 
voice, because of their hard bondage," that unless the Lord did 
invincibly comfort, it would lie bleeding to death, and never live. 
It must needs, therefore, be great sorrow, which all the w^orld, 
men, nor angels can remove. 

5. You may be confirmed in this, if, lastly, you consider the 
many ways the Lord takes to beget great mourning, if the soul 
will not be sorrowful ; as, sometimes, great afflictions ; Manasseh 
must be taken in the bushes, and be cast into chains. Sometimes 
strange temptations, hellish blasphemies: Is there a God ? are the 
Scriptures his word ? why should the Lord be so cruel as to rep- 
robate any of his creatures, to torment it so long ? etc. Some- 
times long eclipsing of the light of God's countenance ; no prayers 


answered, but daily bills of indictment. And sometimes it thinks 
it hears and feels a secret testimony from God, that he never had 
thought of peace toward it, and that his purpose is immutable. 
Sometimes it questions. Can God forgive sins so great ? Can it 
stand with his honor to put up so much wrong? Sometimes it 
feels its heart so extreme hard and dedolent, that it thinks the 
Lord hath sealed it up under this plague till the judgment of 
the great day. And sometimes the Lord makes melancholy a 
good servant to him to further this work of sorrow. But thus the 
Lord rebukes many a hard-hearted sinner that will not bear the 
yoke, nor feel the load ; and now the Lord turns the beauty of 
the proudest into ashes, and withers the glory of all flesh. Nay, 
sometimes you shall observe the Lord, though he comes not out 
as a lion to rend, yet as a moth he frets out, by secret pinings and 
languishings, the senseless security of man, that he shall mourn 
to purpose before he leave him. I do not mean by this, as if all 
men had the like measure of sorrow ; but a great sorrow it is in 
all. Every child is delivered by some throes ; those that stick 
long in the birth may feel them longer and very many. 

Nor yet do I press a necessity of tears, or violent and tumult- 
uous complaints ; the deepest sorrows run with least noise. If 
a man can have tears for outward losses, and none for sins, it is 
very suspicious whether he was ever truly sorrowful for sin ; 
otherwise, as the greatest joys are not always expressed in laugh- 
ter, so the greatest sorrows are not always expressed in shedding 
of tears ; what the measure of this great sorrow is, we shall hear 

Thirdly. It is a constant mourning, for so it is here called, a 
spirit of heaviness ; as that woman that had a spirit of infirmity, 
and was bowed down many years : Hannah, constantly troubled, 
is called a woman of a sorrowful spirit. (1 Sam. i. 12, 15.) As 
"the spirit of pride and whoredom" (Hos. iv. 12) is a constant 
frame, where, though the acts be sometimes suspended, yet the 
spirit remains, so a spirit of mourning is such sorrow, as, though 
the acts of mourning be sometime hindered, yet the spirit and 
spring remain. Hypocrites will mourn under sin and misery; 
but what is it ? It is the hanging down the head like a bulrush in 
bad weather for a day. O, how many have pangs and gripes of 
sorrow, and can quickly ease themselves again ! these mourners 
come to nothing in the conclusion. I grant the sorrow and sad- 
ness of spirit may be interrupted ; but it returns again, and 
never leaves the soul until the Lord look down from heaven. 
(Lam. iii. 48-50.) The cause continues, — guilt and strength 
of sin, — and therefore this effect continues. 


Fourthly. It is such a sorrow as makes way for gladness, for 
so it is here said, " The Lord gives beauty for " these " ashes ; " and 
hence it is no desperate, hellish sorrow, but usually mixed with 
sense of some mercy, at least common, and some hope ; not that 
which apprehends the object of hope particularly, (which is done 
in invocation,) but that the Lord may find out some way of saving 
it, (Jonah iii. 9 ; Acts ii. 37,) which hope, with sense of mercy 
waiting so long, preserving from hell and death so oft, etc., doth 
not harden the heart, (as in reprobates,) but serve to break the 
more, and to load it with greater sorrow ; thus the Lord works this 
sorrow in all his elect. I know it is in a greater measure, and from 
some other grounds after the soul is in Christ ; but this sorrow 
there is for substance, mentioned for the reasons given : if Christ 
hate you, you shall mourn, but never till it be too late ; if he love 
you, you must mourn now : how great and many are your 
sins ! how near is your doom ! The Lord only knows how 
fearful your condemnation will be, you have oft heard ; but yet 
how few of your hearts are sad and very heavy for these things ! 
Sin is your pleasure, not your sorrow ; you fly from sorrow as 
from a temptation of Satan, who comes to trouble you, and to lead 
you to despair : David's eyes ran down with rivers of waters, be- 
cause others brake God's law, and Jeremy wished he had a cot- 
tage in the wilderness to mourn in ; and yet you do not, you can 
not pour out one drop, nor yet wish you had hearts to lament your 
own sins : but 0, know it, that when the Lord Christ comes, he 
will sad thy soul ; when he comes to search thy old sores by the 
Spirit of conviction, he will make them smart and bleed abun- 
dantly, by the spirit of compunction. 

3. Separation from sin is the third thing wherein compunction 
consists : such a fear and sorrow for sin under a sinful estate, as 
separates the soul from sin, is true compunction ; without which 
the Lord Christ can not be had : the soul is cut and wounded with 
sin by fear and sorrow, but it is cut off by this stroke of the Spirit, 
not from the being, but from the growing power of sin ; from the 
will to sin, not from all sin in the will which is mortified by a 
spirit of holiness, after the soul is implanted into Christ ; for 
compunction, contrition, brokenness of heart for sin, (call it what 
you will,) is opposite to hardness of heart, which is in every sin- 
ner whilst Christ leaves him ; now in hardness (as in a stone) 
there is, first, insensibleness ; secondly, a close cleaving of all 
the parts together, whereby it comes to pass that hard things make 
resistance of what is cast against them : so in compunction there 
is not only sensibleness of the evil of sin and death, by fear and 
sorrow, but such as makes a separation of that close union between 


sin and the soul ; and hence it is that the Lord abhors all fastings, 
humiliations, prayers, tears, unless they be of this stamp, and are 
accompanied with this effect. The Lord flings the dung of their 
fastings and sorrows in their faces, because they did not break the 
bonds of wickedness ; to mourn for sin and misery, and yet to be 
in thy sin, is the work of justice on the damned in hell, and all the 
devils at this day, that are pinched with their black chains not 
loosened from them ; and not the work of the grace of Christ in 
the day of his power. " He that confesseth his sins shall have 
mercy : " that is true ; but remember the meaning of that confession 
in the next words, " and forsaketh," he shall find mercy. What 
is the end of the mother in laying wormwood and gall upon her 
breast, but that the child, by tasting the bitterness of it, might be 
weaned, and have his stomach and will turned from it ? What is 
the end of fear and sorrow, but by this to turn away the soul from 
sin ? This point is weighty and full of difficulty, of great use, 
and worthy of deep meditation. For as the first wound and 
stroke of the Spirit is, so it is in all after works of it, both of 
faith and holiness in the soul : if this be right, faith is right, holi- 
ness is right ; if this be imperfect, or nought, all is according to 
it afterward : the greatest difficulty lies here, to know what meas- 
ure of separation from sin the Spirit makes here ; for after we 
are in Christ, then sin is mortified : how, then, is there any 
separation of the heart from it, before it doth fully believe ? or 
what measure is there necessary ? Here, therefore, I shall answer 
to the fourth and last particular, viz. : — 

Fourthly. What is that measure of compunction the Lord 
works in all the elect ? 

So much compunction or sense of sin is necessary as attains 
the end of it. Now, what is the end of it ? No other but that the 
soul, being humbled, might go to Christ, (by faith,) to take aAvay his 
sin ; the Jiais proximus, or next end, of compunction is humiliation, 
that the soul may be so severed from sin as to renounce itself for 
it ; the Jinis remotus, or last end, is, that^ being thus humbled, it 
miglit go unto Christ to take away sin ; for, beloved, the condem- 
nation of the world lies not so much in being sinful under guilt 
and power of sin, as in being unwilling the Lord Jesus should 
take it away : this, I sa,y, is the greatest hinderance of salvation. 
(John iii. 19. John v. 40.) "O Jerusalem, wilt thou not be made 
clean? " (Jer. xiii. 17.) That was their great evil; they were not 
only polluted, but they would not be made clean ; the Lord Jesus 
therefore rolls away this stone from the sepulcher, beats down this 
mountain ; and because it must first believe in Christ before it 
can receive grace from Christ, it must come to Christ to take 


away sin, before the Lord will do it ; hence so much loosening 
from sin as makes the soul thus to come is necessary. So much 
fear and sorrow as loosens from sin, and so much loosening from 
sin as makes the soul willing, or at least not unwilling, that the 
Lord Jesus should take it away, is necessary ; for whoever comes 
to Christ, or is not willing Christ should come to him to take away 
all his sin, hath (whatever he thinks) some antecedent loosening 
and separation from sin. 

O, saith a poor sinner, when the Lord hath struck his heart, 
and he feels guilt, and terror, and mighty strength of corruption, 
if the Lord Jesus would take away these evils from me, though 
I can not, means can not, that will be exceeding rich mercy. The 
Lord doth not wound the heart to this end, that the soul should 
first heal itself, before it come to the Physician, but that it might 
seek out, or, feeling its need, be willing and desirous of a Physi- 
cian, the Lord Jesus, to come and heal it. It is the great fault 
of many Christians, either their wounds and sorrows are so little, 
they desire not to be healed ; or, if they do, they labor to heal 
themselves first, before they come to the Physician for it ; they 
will first make themselves holy, and put on their jewels, and then 
believe in Christ. And hence are those many complaints. What 
have I to do with Christ ? Why should he have to do with me, 
that have such unholy, vile, hard, blind, 'and most wicked heart? 
If I were more humbled, and more holy, then I should go to him, 
and think he would come to me. O, for the Lord's sake, dishonor 
not the grace of Christ. It is true, thou canst not come to Christ 
till thou art loaden, and humbled, and separated from thy sin. 
Thou canst not be ingrafted into this Olive, unless thou beest cut, 
and cut off too from thy old root. Yet remember forever, that 
no more sorrow for sin, no more separation from sin, is necessary 
to thy closing with Christ, than so much as makes thee willing, or 
rather not unwilling, that the Lord should take it away. And 
know it, if thou seekest for a greater measure of humiliation 
antecedent to thy closing with Christ than this, thou showest the 
more pride therein, who wilt rather go into thyself to make tliy- 
self holy and humble, that thou mightest be worthy of Christ, 
than go out of thyself, unto the Lord Jesus, to take thy sin away ; 
in a word, who thinkest Christ can not love thee, until thou makesl 
thyself fair, and when thou thinkest thyself so, (which is pride,) 
wilt then think otherwise of Christ. The Lord, therefore, when 
he teacheth his people how to return unto him after grievous sins, 
directs them to this course — not to go about the bush to remove 
their iniquities themselves, or to stay and live securely in tlieiv 
sins, until the Lord did it himself; but bids them come to him, and 


say, "Take away (Lord) all inquities." (Hos. xiv. 1-3.) You 
shall see "Epliraioi bemoaning himself." (Jer. xxi. 18.) But 
how ? Doth he say he feels his sins now all removed ? No, but 
he desires the Lord to turn him, and then (saith he) I shall be 

As if he should say, Lord, I shall never turn from this stub- 
born, vile heart, nor so much as turn to thee, to take it away, un- 
less thou dost turn me, and then I shall be turned to purpose. 
What saith the penitent church "^ " Come," say they, " let us go 
unto the Lord." They might object and say, Alas ! the Lord is 
our enemy, and wounds us, and hath broken us to pieces ; we are 
not yet healed, but lie dead as well as wounded ; shall such dead 
spirits live ? Mark what follows : True indeed, " He hath wound- 
ed us ; " let us therefore go to him, that he may heal us, and " after 
two days he will revive us." The Lord requires no more of us 
than thus to come to him. Lideed, after a Christian is in Christ, 
labor for more and more sense of sin, that may drive you nearer 
and nearer unto Christ. Yet know before you come to him, the 
Lord requires no more than this ; and as he requires no more 
than this, so it is his own Spirit (not our abilities) that must also 
work this : and thus much he will work, and doth require of all 
whom he purposeth to save. If thou wilt not come to Christ to 
take away thy sins, thou shalt undoubtedly perish in them. If 
the Lord work that sorrow, so as to be willing the Lord should 
take them away, thou shalt be undoubtedly saved from them. 

If you would know what measure of willingness to have 
Christ take away sin is required, you shall hear when we come 
to open the fourth particular in the doctrine of faith. 

If you further ask, how the Spirit works this loosening from 
sin in the work of compunction, — 

I answer, The Spirit of Christ works this by a double act. 1. 
Moral. 2. Physical. 

As in the conversion of the soul by faith unto God, the Spirit is 
not only a moral agent persuading, but also a supernatural agent 
physically working the heart to believe, by a divine and imme- 
diate act ; so in the aversion of the soul from sin, the Spirit doth 
affect the heart with fear and sorrow morally ; but this can never 
take away sin, as we see in Judas and Cain, deeply affected and 
afflicted in spirit, and yet in their sin. And therefore the Spii'it 
puts forth its own hand physically or immediately, and his own 
arm brings salvation to us, by a further secret immediate stroke, 
turning the iron neck, cutting the iron sinews of sin, and so 
makes this disunion or separation. You think it is easy to be 
willing that Christ should come and take away all your sins ; 

VOL. I. 14 


I tell jou, the omnipotent arm of the Lord, that instructed Jere- 
my in a smaller matter, can only instruct you here ; both these 
acts ever go together according to the measure mentioned ; the 
latter can not be without the first, the first is in vain without the 

But what evil in sin doth the Spirit morally affect the heart 
with, and so physically turn it from sin ? 

He affects the soul with it as the greatest evil ; by sin I mean 
not as considered without death, (for at this time the soul is not 
so spiritual as that sin without consideration of death and wrath 
due to it should affect it,) but sin and death: sin armed with 
wrath, sin working death, pricks the heart as the greatest evil, 
and so lets out that core at the bottom, as may fit the soul for 
healing. For, — 

1. If the Spirit make a man feel sin truly, the soul feels it as 
it is ; it is not the name and talk of the danger of sin that 
troubles it, but the spirit (ever making things real) loads the 
soul with it indeed, and as it is : now it is the greatest evil, and 
therefore so it feels sin. Believe it, you never felt sin indeed 
as it is, if you have not felt it thus. 

2. Else no man will prize Christ as the greatest good, without 
which no man shall have him. 

3. Else a man will live and continue in sin. If sin had been 
a greater evil to Pilate than the loss of Cesar's friendship, he 
would never have crucified Christ. If sin had been a greater 
evil to Jehu than the loss of his kingdom, he had never kept up 
the tAvo calves. If sin were a greater evil than poverty, shame, 
grief in this world, many a professor would never lose Christ 
and a good conscience too, for a little gain, profit, or honor. 
Beloved, the great curse and wrath of the Lord upon all men in 
the world almost is this, that the greatest evils should be the 
least of all felt, and the smallest evils most of all complained 
of. What is death, that only separates thy soul from thy body, 
to sin, that separates God blessed forever from thy soul ? and 
therefore the Lord Jesus will remove this curse from whom he 

But you will say, What is that ev^il the soul sees at this time 
in sin, that thus affects the heart with it, as the greatest evil ? 
This is the last difficulty here. 

There is a threefold evil especially seen in sin : — 

1. The evil of torment and anguish. 

2. The evil of wrong and injury to God. 

3. The evil of separation of the soul from God. 

The first may affect reprobates, as Saul and Judas, who were 
sore distressed when they felt the anguish of conscience for sin. 


The second is only in those who are actually justified, called, 
and sanctified, who lament sin as it is against God, and a God 
reconciled to them, and as it is against the life of God begun in 
them ; and hence they cry out of it as a body of death. 

The third the elect feel at this first stroke and wound which 
the Spirit gives them ; the anguish of sin indeed lies sore upon 
them, but this much more. Christ is come to seek that which 
is lost. The sheep is lost, when first it is separated and gone 
from the owner ; secondly, w^hen it knows not how to return 
again, unless the shepherd find it and carry it home : so that 
soul is properly and truly lost that feels itself separated and 
gone from God, knowing not how to return to him again, unless 
the Lord come and take it upon his shoulders, and carry it in 
his arms ; this lies heavy upon it, viz., that it is gone from God, 
and wholly separated from all union to him, and communion with 
him. You may observe, (John xvi. 9,) that the Spirit convinces 
of sin. How ? " Because they believe not in me." 1. Because 
they shall see and feel themselves quite separated from me ; 
they shall hear of my glory and riches of mercy, and that hap- 
piness which all that have me shall and do enjoy; but they 
shall mourn that they have no part nor portion in these things ; 
they shall mourn that they live without me, and that they have 
lived so long without me. 

I confess many other considerations of the evil of sin come 
now in, but this is the main channel where all the other rivulets 
empty themselves. And hence it is that the soul, under this 
stroke, is in a state of seeking only, yet finds nothing ; it seeks 
God and Christ, and therefore feels a want, a loss of both by 
sin ; for the end of all the fears, terrors, sorrows, etc., upon the 
elect, is to bring them back again to God, and into fellowship 
with God, the only blessedness of man. Now, if the soul 
ordained and made for this end should not feel its present sepa- 
ration from God by sin, and the bitterness of the evil of it, it 
would never seek to return again to him as to his greatest good, 
nor desire ever to come into his bosom again ; for look as sin 
wounds the soul, so the soul seeks for healing of it ; if only the 
torment of sin wound, ease of conscience from that anguish will 
heal it : so if separation from God wound the heart, only union 
and communion with God will heal it, and comfort it again. 
The Lord Christ therefore having laid his hand upon the soul to 
bring it back to himself first, and so to the Father, being de- 
signed to gather in all the outcasts of Israel, those he ever 
makes to feel themselves outcasts, as cast away out of God's 
blessed sight and presence, that so they may desire at last to 


come home again : reprobates not made for this end have not this 
sense of sin, the means of their return. And hence it is that 
the souls of those God saves are never quiet until they come to 
God, and have communion with him ; but they mourn for their 
distance from him, and the hiding of his face, until the Lord 
shine forth again : whereas, every one else, though much 
troubled, yet sits down contented w^ith any little odd thing, that 
serves to quiet them for the time, before the Lord return to 
them, or they enter into their rest, in that inefiable communion 
with him. 

Let me now make application of this, before I proceed to 
open the next particular of humiliation. 

This may show us the great mistake of two sorts. 

1. Such as think there is no necessity of any sense of misery 
before the application of the remedy or their closing with Christ ; 
because, say they, where there is sense there is life, (all sense 
and feeling arising from life,) and where there is life there is 
Christ already. And hence it is that they would not have the 
law first preached in these days, but the gospel ; the other is to 
go round about the bush. 

I answer, that for my own part this doctrine (of seeing and 
feeling our misery before the remedy) is so universally received 
by all solid divines, both at home and abroad, that I meet with, 
and the contrary opinion so cross to the Holy Scriptures, and 
general experience of the saints, and the preaching of the other 
so abundantly sealed to be God's own way by his rich blessings 
on the labors of his servants faithful to him herein, that were 
it not for the sake of some weak and misled, I should not dare 
to question it ; the Lord himself so expressly speaking, that he 
" came not to call the righteous," but on the contrary, only to heal 
the sick, who know and feel their sickness chiefly by the law. 
(Rom. iii. 20.) Dost thou think, therefore, that there is spirit- 
ual life wherever there is any sense ? Then I say the devils and 
damned in hell have much spiritual life, for they feel their misery 
with a witness. 

As for the preaching of the gospel before the law to show our 
misery, it is true that the gospel is to be looked at as the main 
end; yet you must use the means, before you can come to the 
end, by the preaching of the law, or misery in despising the 
gospel. End and means have been ever good friends, and you 
may join them well together ; you can not sever them without 
danger. I do observe that the apostles ever used this method : 
Paul first proves Jews and Gentiles to be under sin, in almost 
the first three chapters of the Romans, before he opens the 



doctrine of justification by faith in Christ. I do not observe 
that ever there was so clear and manifest opening of man's 
misery as by Christ and his apostles, who brouglit in the clear- 
est revelations of the remedy. I do not read in Moses, or in all 
the prophets, such full and plain expressions of our misery as in 
the New Testament — " The worm that never dies," " The fire 
that never goes out," " The wrath to come," etc. ; and therefore, 
assuredly they thought this no back door, but faith the door to 
Christ, and this is the way to faith. To say that a man must 
first have Christ and life, before he feel any spiritual misery, 
is to say that a Christian must first be healed, that he may be 
sick ; cured, that he may be wounded ; receive the Spirit of 
adoption, before he receive ; and that he may receive the spirit 
of bondage to fear again. 

If ministers shall preach the remedy before they show misery, 
woe to this age, that shall be deprived of those blessings which 
the former gloried in, and blessed the Lord for. Mark those 
men that deny the use of the law to lead unto Christ, if they do 
not fall in time to oppose some main point of the gospel. For it 
is a righteous thing, but a heavy plague, for the Lord to suiFer 
such men to obscure the gospel, that in their judgments zealously 
dislike this use of the law. You must preach the remedy ; that 
is true ; but you must also first preach the woe and misery of 
men, or rather so mix them together, as the hearts of hearers may 
be deeply affected with both; but first with their misery. It 
argues a greater consumption of the Spirit of grace when Chris- 
tians' lives are preserved only by alchymy and choice cordials, 
notions about Christ, nay, choice ones, too, or else the old and 
ordinary food of the country will not down. I tell you, the 
main wound of Christians is want of deep humihations and cast- 
ings down ; and if you believe it not now, it may be, pestilence, 
sword, and famine shall teach you this doctrine, when the Lord 
shall make these things wound you to the very heart, and put you 
to your wits' end, that were not, that would not in season be, 
wounded at the heart with sin. 

Are we troubled with too many wounded consciences in these 
times, that we are so sohcitous of coining new principles of 
peace ? What is every man by nature but a kind of an infinite 
evil? All the sins that fill earth and hell are in every one man's 
heart, for sin in man is endless ; and canst not thou endure to be 
cast down ? Nothing is so vile as Christ to a man not unhura- 
bled ; and can you so easily prize him, and taste him, without 
any casting down ? 

2. Such as think there is a necessity of sense of misery by 
14 * 


the work of the law, before Christ can be received ; but they 
think there is no such feeling of misei'y as hath been mentioned, 
but that it is common to the reprobate as to the elect, and conse- 
quently that in sense of sin there is no such special work of the 
Spirit as separates the soul from sin before it comes unto Christ, 
but that this is done after the soul is in Chri;?t by faith, viz., in 
sanctification,^ being first justified by faith. 

This is the judgment of many holy and learned ; and there- 
fore, so long as there is no disagreement in the substance of this 
doctrine, it should not trouble us ; only let it be considered, 
whether what is said is not the truth of Christ ; and if it be, let 
us not cast it aside. The Jewish rabbins have a speech at 
this day very frequent in their writings — Non est in lege unica 
literula a qua 7ion magni suspensi sunt monies. It is much 
more true of every truth, and if I mistake not, much depends 
upon the right understanding of this point. 

That, therefore, 1. There must be some sense of misery before 
the application of the remedy. 

2. That this compunction or sense of misery is wrought by 
the Spirit of Christ, not the power of man to prepare himself 
thereby for further grace. 

3. That these terrors and sorrows in the elect do virtually 
differ from those in the reprobate ; the one driving the soul to 
Christ, the other not : these are agreed on all hands. The ques- 
tion only is. Whether there is this further stroke of severing the 
soul from sin,. conjoined with the terrors and sorrows in the elect 
before their closing with Christ, which is not in the reprobate ; 
or in one word, Avhether there is not a special work of the Spirit, 
turning (at least in order of nature) the soul from sin, before the 
soul returns by faith unto Christ. 

For the aifirmative I leave several considerations. 

That there is gratia actualis, or actual grace, as well as hahit- 
ualis, or habitual grace : learned Ferrius makes a vast differ- 
ence between them ; and therefore to think that there can be no 
power of sin removed but by habitual or sanctifying grace, is 
unsound ; for actual grace may do it ; the Spirit may take away 
sin mediately by habitual grace, and yet it can do it immediately 
also by an omnipotent act, by that which is called actual, actuat- 
ing, or moving grace ; Christ can and must first bind the strong 
man, and cast him out by this working or actual grace, before he 
dwells in the house of man's heart, by habitual and sanctifying 
grace. The gardener's knife may immediately cut off a scion 
from a tree, thereby taking away all its power to grow there any 
more, before it hath a power to bring forth any fruit, which is 
wrought only by implanting it into another stock. New creation 


(which is at first conversion,) may well be without habitual graces 
that are but creatures. 

Whether any man since the fall is a subject immediately capa- 
ble of sanctifying or habitual grace ; or whether any unregen- 
erate man is in a next disposition to receive such grace ; as the 
air is immediately of light, out of which the darkness is expelled 
by light, and so the habits of grace do expel the habits and 
power of sin, (say some.) I suppose the allirmative is most 
false, and in near affinity with some gross points of Arminianism. 
Adam, in his pure naturals, and considered merely as a living 
soul, was such a subject; like a white paper, fitted immediately 
to take the impression of God's image ; but since, by his fall, 
sin is fallen like a mighty blot upon the soul, whereby a man not 
only wants grace, as the dark air doth light, but also resists 
grace. (John xiv. 17.) Hence this resistance must be first taken 
away, before the Lord introduce his image again. To say that a 
man can of himself dispose himself unto grace, was Pelagianism in 
Aquinas's time : yet some disposition is necessary, saith Ferrius ; 
not unto actual grace, or that which is wrought upon a man, per 
modum actus, (as he saith,) but unto the reception of habitual or 
sanctifying grace, it being in the Soulier modum for mce, no form 
being introduced but into materiam dispositam, i. e., matter fitted 
or prepared, or into such a vessel which is immediately capable 

of it: 

There is in man a double resistance against grace. 

1. Of a holy frame of grace, by original corruption, which is 
opposite to original and renewed holiness, or to this holy frame. 

2. Of the God of grace himself when he comes to work it. 
(Job xxi. 14. Ezek. xxiv. 14.) 

The first is taken away in that which we call the spirit of 
sanctification, after faith ; the second is taken away not only in 
the act of it, as by terrors it may be in reprobates, (Ps. Ixvi. 2,) 
but in some measure in the inward root and disposition of it, 
(only in the elect,) there being (as hath been said) no more sepa- 
ration from sin, at this time required, than so much as may make 
the soul come to the Lord to take it away, or at least not un- 
willing, not resisting the Lord, when he comes to do it himself. 

Whether doth not the work of union unto Christ go before 
our communion with Christ. I suppose it is undeniable, that 
union must be before communion ; and that union to Christ is a 
work of grace as peculiar to the elect as communion with him. 

Now, justification and sanctification are two parts of our com- 
munion with him, and follow our union. (Rom. viii. 1.) Our 
union therefore must be before these, of which there are two parts, 
or rather two things on our part, necessarily required to it : — 


1. Cutting off from the wild t)live tree, the old Adam. 2. Im- 
planting into the good oli^e tree, the second Adam. The first 
must go before the second ; for where there is perfect resistance, 
there can be no perfect union. But take a man growing upon 
this old root of nature, there is nothing but perfect resistance, 
(Rom. viii. 7 ;) and therefore that resistance must first be taken 
away, before the Lord draw the soul to Christ, and by faith 
implant it into Christ. In a Avord, I see not how a man can 
wholly resist God and Christ, and yet be united unto him at the 
same instant ; and therefore the one (in order of nature at least) 
goes before the other : and therefore let any man living prove 
his union to Christ, and to his lust also, if he can. You will 
believe in Christ, many of you, and yet you w^ill have your 
whores, and cups, and lusts, and pride, and world too, and op- 
pose all the means that would have you from these also. I tell 
you, you shall find one day how miserably deceived you have 
been herein. '^ You can not serve God and Mammon. How can 
ye believe," sailh Christ, (John v. 44,) " that seek honor one of 
another ? " If you can have Christ, and be ambitious too, take 
him ; but how can you believe till the Lord hath broken you off 
from thence ? 

Whether vocation (as peculiar to the elect as sanctification) 
doth not go before justification and glorification. (Rom. viii. 30.) 
Whether also there are not two things in effectual vocation. 

1. Is not Christ that good, the term to which the soul is 
firstly called ? 

2. Is not sin and world that evil, the term from which the 
soul is called ? I suppose it is evident that the soul is effect- 
ually called, and therefore actually and firstly turned from dark- 
ness to light, from the power of Satan unto God. First from 
darkness, then unto light ; first from the power of Satan, then 
unto God ; as is evident by the apostle's own words, (Acts 
xxvi. 18,) where he methodically lets down the wonderful works 
of Christ's grace by his ministry : the first is, " to turn them from 
darkness to light, and from Satan's power unto God," which are 
the two parts of vocation, " that they may receive forgiveness 
of sins" in justification, (vocation being a means to this end,) 
that they may receive an inheritance in glorification among such 
as, being justified, are sanctified also by faith in his name. The 
apostle doth not say that he was to return men to light and unto 
God, and so turn them from darkness and from the power of Sa- 
tan, (though this is true in some sense,) but he was first to turn 
from darkness and Satan, and so to return them unto light, and 
God in Christ. For how is it possible to be turned unto Christ, 


and yet then also to be turned to sin and Satan ? Doth it not 
imply a contradiction, to be turned toward sin, (which is ever 
from Christ,) and yet to be turned toward Christ together ? All 
divines affirm generally that in the working of faith the Lord 
makes the soul willing to have Christ, (Ps. ex. 2, 3,) but withal 
they affirm that of unwilling he makes willing ; and therefore it 
follows that the Lord must first remove that unwillingness before 
it can be willing, it being impossible to be both willing and un- 
willing together. 

Whether the cause of all that counterfeit coin and hypocrisy 
in this professing age doth not arise from this root, viz., not 
having this wound at first, but only some trouble for sin with- 
I out separation from it, sore throes without deliverance from sin. 
Is not this the death of most, if not all, wicked men living? 
How many are there that clasp about Christ, and yet prove 
enemies to the cross of Christ — fall from Christ scandalously 
or secretly afterward ! What is the reason of it ? Certainly, 
if the Lord had cut them off from their sin, they had never fallen 
to everlasting bondage in sin again ; but there the Spirit of God 
forsook them, the Lord not owning so much love to them. Con- 
sider seriously why the stony and thorny ground hearers (Matt, 
xiii.) came to nothing in their growth of seeming faith and sanc- 
tification. Was the fault in the seed ? No, verily, but only in 
the ground. The one was broken, but not deep enough. The 
; other was broken deep, but not through enough. The roots of 
, thorns choked them. The lusts and cares of the world were not 
j destroyed first, and therefore they destroyed that ground. 
I I conclude therefore with that of Jeremy, " Break up your 
fallow grounds." Seek to the Lord to break them for you, " and 
i sow not among thorns." Take heed of such brokenness which 
j removes not the thorns of sinful, secret stubbornness, " lest the 
I wrath of the Loi^d break out against you, and burn that none 
can quench it." Do not cut off John Baptist's head, you that 
can be content to hear him gladly, and do many things. But 
he must not touch your Herodias, and make a divorce there ; 
' but suffer him to come in the spirit and power of Elias, nay, of 
Christ Jesus, to beat down your mountains, fill up your valleys, 
make your crooked, rough ways smooth, that you see the glory 
of the Lord Jesus, without which he shall be ever hid from you. 
Cry, you faithful servants of the Lord, that " all flesh is grass, 
and all the glory of man," of sin, of world, " is a withered flower," 
that the Lord Jesus may be revealed ever fresh, and sweet, and 
precious in the eyes of the saints. 

The evidence of this truth in the general put blessed and 


learned Pemble upon another way ; for when he perceived (as 
himself confesseth) that it is the general doctrine of all Orthodox 
divines, viz., that actual faith is never wrouglit in the soul, till, 
beside the supernatural illumination of the mind, the will be also 
first freed in part from its natural perverseness, (God making all 
men of unwilling, willing,) hereupon he concludes that this is 
done by the spirit of sanctitication, and one supernatural quality 
of holiness universally infused in all the powers of the soul at 
once, so that the Spirit instantly first sanctifies us and puts life in 
us ; then it acts in sorrow for, and detestation of, sin ; and so we 
come actually to believe. And because he foresaw the blow, 
viz., that in this way Christians are sanctified before they be jus- 
tified, he answers, Yes, we are justified declaratively after this. 

Others (who follow him) answer more roundly, viz., that we 
are sanctified before we are really and actually justified, and 
herein differ from him. 

Now, when it is objected against this, viz., that our vocation is 
that which goes before our justification, sanctification being a 
part of glorification following after, (Rom. viii. 30,) hereupon 
some others (treading in his steps) affirm that vocation is the 
same with sanctification, and not comprehended with glorification. 

Others perceiving the evil of this error, viz., to place sanctifi- 
cation before justification, good fruits before a good tree, they do 
therefore deny any saving work, whether of vocation or sanctifi- 
cation, before justification. And hence, on the other extreme, 
they do place a Christian's justification before his faith in voca- 
tion, or holiness in his sanctification ; so that by this last opinion 
a Christian is not justified by faith, (which was Paul's phrase,) 
but rather (as he said wittily and wisely) faithed by his justifi- 
cation. Before I come to clear the truth in these spiritual mys- 
teries, let this only be remembered, viz., that sanctification, which 
Pemble calls our spiritual life, may be taken two ways : — 

1. Largely. 2. Strictly. 

1. Largely ; for any awakenings of conscience, or acts of the 
Spirit of life ; and so it is true we are quickened by these acts, 
and so in a large sense sanctified first. 

2. Strictly ; for those habits of the life of holiness which are 
opposite to the body of death in us ; and that we are not first 
sanctified before we are justified in this sense, we shall manifest 
by and by. Only let me begin to show the error of the last 
opinion first, viz., 1. That a Christian is not first justified before 
faith or vocation, may appear thus : — 

1. It is professedly cross to the whole current of Scripture, 
which saith, " We are justified by faith," and therefore not before 


faith ; and to say that the meaning of such phrases is, that we 
are justified dedaratively by faith, or to our sense and feehng in 
foro coRScientifE, is a mere device; for our justification is op- 
posed to the state of unrighteousness and condemnation going 
before, which condemnation is not only declarative, and in the 
court of conscience, but real, and in the court of Heaven ; for 
so saith the Scripture expressly, (John iii. 18,) '' He that believ- 
eth not is condemned already;" and, (ver. 30,) "The wrath of 
God abideth on him ; " and, (Gal. iii. 22,) " The Scripture (which 
is the sentence in God's court) hath concluded all under sin." 
Hence a second argument ariseth : — 

2. If a man be justified before faith, then an actual unbe- 
liever is subject to no condemnation. But this is expressly cross 
to the letter of the text, " He that believeth not is condemned 
already, (John iii. 18,) and the wrath of God doth lie upon him." 
The subjects of non-condemnation are those that be in Christ 
by fiiith, (Rom. viii. 1,) not out of Christ by unbelief. (Rom. xi. 
20.) There is indeed a merited justification by Christ's death, 
and a virtual or exemplary justification in Christ's resurrection, 
as in our head and surety ; and both these were before not only 
our faith, but our very being ; but to say that we are therefore 
actually justified before faith, because our justification was mer- 
ited before we had faith, gives us a just ground of affirming that 
we are actually sanctified while we are in the state of nature 
unsanctified, (Eph. ii. 1,) because our sanctification was merited 
by Christ before we had any being in him. 

We must indeed be made good trees by faith in Christ's 
righteousness before we can bring forth any good fruits of holi- 
ness. God makes us not good trees without being in Christ by 
faith, no more than we are bad trees in contracting Adam's guilt 
without our being first in him. God gives us first his Son, 
(offered in the gospel, and received by faith,) and then gives us 
all other things with him. He doth not justify us without giving 
us his Son ; but having first given him, gives us this also. 

2. That sanctification doth not go before justification may ap- 
pear thus : — 

1. If guilt of Adam's sin go before original pollution, (Rom. 
V. 12,) then imputation of Christ's righteousness before renewed 

2. To place sanctification before justification is quite cross to 
the apostle's practice, (which is our pattern,) who first sought to 
be found in Christ, (Phil. iii. 9,) (in the work of union,) not hav- 
ing his own righteousness in the work of justification, (which in 
order follows that,) that he may then know him in the power of 


his death and resurrection in sanctification, (here comes in sane- 
tification,) if by any means he might attain to the resurrection of 
the dead in glorification, (the last of all.) 

3. This is quite cross to the apostle's doctrine which makes 
justification the cause of sanctification, and therefore must needs 
go before it. (Rom. v.) As sin goes before spiritual and eternal 
death, so righteousness goes before spiritual life in sanctifi- 
cation and eternal life in glory. The Lord holds forth Christ 
in the gospel first as our propitiation, (Rom. iii. 24.) and then 
comes dying to sin, and living to God, in sanctification. (Chap. 
vi. 1.) Holiness is the end of our actual reconciliation. (Col. 
i. 21, 22.) 

4. If sanctification go before justification by faith, then a 
Christian's communion with Christ goes before his union to him 
by faith ; but our union is the foundation of communion, and it 
is impossible there should be communion without some precedent 
union. (1 Cor. i. 30.) " Christ is made righteousness and sancti- 
fication." Unto whom ? Read the beginning of the verse, and you 
shall see it is only to those that be in Christ, which is by faith. 

Let none say here (as some do) that we have union to Christ, 
first by the Spirit, without faith, in order going before faith ; for 
understanding of which, let us a little consider of our union unto 
Christ. Our union to Christ is not by the essential presence of 
the Spirit, for that is in every man, as the Godhead is every 
where, in whom we live and move. This is common to the 
most wicked man, nay, to the vilest creature in the world. 
Hence it follows, that our union is by some act of the Spirit 
peculiar to the elect, (who only shall have communion with 
Christ,) working some real change in the soul, (for of real, not 
relative union, I now speak ;) this act can not be those first acts 
of the spirit of bondage, (for they are common unto reprobates ;) 
they are therefore such acts as are essential unto the nature of 
union. Now, look, as disunion is the disjunction or separation of 
divers things one from another, so union is the conjunction or 
joining of them together that were before severed. Hence that 
act of the Spirit in uniting us to Christ can be nothing else but 
the bringing back the soul unto Christ, or the conjunction of the 
soul unto Christ and into Christ, by bringing it back to him, that 
before this lay like a dry bone in the valley separated from him. 
Thus, (1 Cor. vi. 17,) " He that is joined, or (as the word signi- 
fies) glued to the Lord, is one spirit with him." The Spirit, 
therefore, brings us to the Lord Christ, and so we are in him. 
Now, the coming of the soul to Christ, what is it but faith? 
(John vi. 35.) Our union, therefore, is by faith, not without it ; 


for by it only we that were once separated from him by sin, and 
especially by unbelief, (Heb. iii. 12,) are now come not only unto 
him, as iron unto the loadstone, (John vi. 37,) but (which is most 
near) into him, as branches into the vine, and so grow one with 
him ; and hence those phrases in Scripture, to believe in Christ, 
or into Christ. I speak not this as if we were united to Christ 
.without the Spirit on his part, (for the conjunction of things 
several must be mutual, if it be firm ;) I only show that we are 
i not united before faith by the Spirit unto Christ, but that we are 
by faith, (wrought by the Spirit,) whereby, on our part, we are 
first conjoined unto him, aiul then, on his part, he, by the person 
of the Spirit, is most wonderfully united unto us. The Spirit 
puts forth variety of acts in the soul ; as it acts us to good works, 
it is the spirit of obedience ; as it infuseth habits of grace, so it is 
the spirit of sanctification ; as it assists us continually, and guides 
us to our end, and witnesseth favor, it is the spirit of adoption ; 
as it works fears of death and hell, it is the spirit of bondage ; 
but as it drives us from sin to Christ, so it is the spirit of union ; 
and therefore to imagine union before and without faith by the 
Spirit, is but a spirit indeed, which when you come to feel it, 
you shall find it nothing, without flesh, or bones, or sinews. As 
our marriage union to Christ must have consent of faith on our 
part, wrought by the Spirit, or else the Lord Jesus is a vain suitor 
to us, so now the Spirit, on Christ's part, must apprehend our faith, 
and dwell in us, who otherwise shall suddenly go a-whorino; from 
him. (1 Pet. i. 5. Eph. iii. 17.) 

3. That vocation is not all one with sanctification may 
appear thus : — 

1. Vocation is before justification. (Rom. viii. 30.) But sanc- 
tification is not before justification, as we have proved, and there- 
fore they are not the same. 

2. Sanctification is the end of vocation. (1 Thess. iv. 7.) 
Tiierefore it is not the same with it. 

3. Faith is the principal thing in vocation : the first part of it 
being God's call, the second part being our answer to that call, 
or in coming at that call (Jer. iii. 22.) Now, faith is no part of 
sanctification, strictly taken, because it is the means and instru- 
ment of our justification and sanctification. (Acts xxvi. 18.) 
Our hearts are said to be purified by faith, (Acts xv. 9 ;) not our 
lives only in the acts of holiness and purity, but our hearts in 
the habitual frame of them. " I live by the faith of the Son of 
God," saith Paul. " We pass from death to life by faith," (John 
V. 24;) therefore it is no part of our spiritual life. "You will 
not come to me" (which is faith) "that you may have life;" 

VOL. I. 15 


(John V. 40; vl. 50,51;) therefore faith is the instrumental 
means of life, and therefore no part of our life : as faith comes 
by hearing, and therefore hearing is no part of faith, so justifi- 
cation comes by faith, and therefore no part of sanctification : all 
our life both of justification and sanctification is laid up in Christ 
our head ; this life, according to God's great plot, shall never be 
had but by coming to Christ for it, (Heb. vii. 25,) else grace and 
Christ should not be so much dishonored. (Rom. iv. 16,) "It 
is of fLiith, that it might be of grace." Sanctification therefore 
is the grace applied by faith, faith the grace applying ; by coming 
to Christ for it, we have it; and therefore have it not when first 
w^e come. 

I am sorry to be thus large in less practical matters ; yet I 
have thought it not unuseful, but very comfortable, to a poor pas- 
senger, not only to know his journey's end and the way in general 
to it, but also the several stadia or towns he is orderly to pass 
-through ; there is much wisdom of God to be seen not only in 
his work, but in his manner and order of working ; for want of 
which I see many Christians in these days fall very foully 
into erroneous apprehensions in their judgments, the immediate 
ground of many errors in practice ; the objections made against 
what hath been delivered are for the principal of them answered ; 
the main end, my beloved, of propounding these things is, that 
you would look narrowly to your union ; 0, take heed you miss 
not there : if you close with Christ, believe in Christ, and yet 
not cut off from your sin, viz., that spirit of resistance of Christ, 
you are utterly and eternally undone. This is the condemnation 
of the world, not that men love darkness Avholly, and hate light, 
but that they love darkness more than light ; not that the un- 
clean spirit is not gone out, but that he is not so cast out as never 
to return again ; the wound of all men, yea, the best of men that 
profess Christ, and yet indeed out of Christ, lies in this : they 
were never severed from their sin by all their prayers, tears, 
fears, sorrows ; and hence they never truly come to Christ ; and 
hence perish in their sin. 

Trouble me no more, therefore, in asking whether a Christian 
is in a state of happiness or misery in this condition. I answer, 
He is preparatively happy ; he is now passing from death to life, 
though not as yet wholly passed. Nor yet, whether there is any 
saving work before union. I answer. No ; for what is said is 
one necessary ingredient to the working up of our union, as 
cutting off the branch from the old stock is necessary to the 
ingrafting it into the new : indeed, without faith it is impossible 
to please God ; nor do I say that this work doth please ; i. e., it 


doth not pacify God, (for that is proper to Christ's perfect right- 
eousness received by faith ;) yet as it is a work of his own Spirit 
upon us, it is pleasing to him, (as the afterwork of sanctification 
is,) though it neither doth pacify him ; nor do I see how this 
doctrine is any way opposite to the free ofter of grace and Christ, 
because it requires no more separation from sin than that which 
drives them unto Christ ; nay, which is less, that makes them (by 
i the power of the Spirit) not resist, but yield to Christ, that he 
I may come unto them and draw them ; you can not repent nor 
I convert yourselves. " Be converted, therefore," (saitli Peter, 
Acts iii. 19,) "that you may receive remission of sins;" and in 
this offer the Spirit works ; and verily he that can truly receive 
; Christ without that sense of misery as separates him from his sin, 
I (as explained to you,) let him believe notwithstanding all that 
! which is said, and the God of heaven speak peace to him ; his 
i faith shall not trouble me, if he be sure it shall not one day de- 
ceive himself. 

Of lamentation for the hardness of men's hearts in these times : 
I as it is said the Lord Jesus " mourned " when he saw " the hard- 
j ness of the people's hearts," (Mark iii. 5,) are there not some so far 
I from this, as that they take pleasure in their sins, they are sugar 
i under their tongues, as sweet as sleep, nay, as their lives ? and 
' you come to pull away their limbs when you come to pluck away 
I their sins. Though they have broke Sabbaths, neglected prayer, 
1 despised the word, hated and mocked at the saints, been stub- 
I born to their parents, cursed and swore, (which made Peter go 
i out and weep bitterly,) though lustful and wanton, (which broke 
j David's bones,) though guilty of more sins than there be motes 
in the sun or stars in heaven, though their sins be crimson, and 
fill heaven with their cry, and all the earth with their burden, 
yet they mourn not ; never did it one hour together ; nay, they 
can not do it, because they will not. If you are weary and 
loaden, where are your unutterable groans ? If wounded and 
bruised, where are your dolorous complaints ? If sick, where is 
your equity for a physician ? If sad, where are your tears, in the 
day, in the night, morning and evening, alone by yourselves, and 
in company with others ? O, how great is the v/rath of God,' 
hardening so many thousands at this day ! Whence comes it that 
Christ is not prized, but from this senselessness ? Name any 
reason why the blessed gospel of peace, and all the sweet prom- 
ises of' life are undervalued, but from hence: and what do you 
hereby, poor creatures, by only aggravate your sins, and make 
those that are little exceeding great in the eyes of God ? Whence 
it is that you " treasure up wrath against the day of wrath." 


(Rom. ii. 2-5.) This hardness is that which blunts the edge of 
God's ordinances, whence God's poor ministers sit sorrowful in 
their closets, seeing all God's seed lost upon bare rocks. O, this 
is the condition of many a man, and which is most fearful, the 
means which should make the heart sensible make it more 
proud and unsensible. Tyre, and Sidon, and Sodom are more 
tit to mourn than Chorazin and Capernaum, that have enjoyed 
humbling means long. Nay, how many be there that mourn out 
their mournings, confess out their confessions, and by their own 
humiliations grow more senseless afterward ! Did we ever live 
in a more impenitent, secure age ? We shall seldom meet with 
one broken with sin ; but how few are broken from sin also ! 
And hence it is many a tall cedar that were set down in the table 
book for converted men, once much humbled, and now comforted ; 
stay but a few years, you shall see more dangerous sins of a 
second growth; one turns drunkard, another covetous, another 
proud, another a sectary, another a very dry leaf, a very formal- 
ist, another fully of humorous opinions, another laden with 
scandalous lusts. Woe to you that lament not now; for you 
shall mourn. Dost thou think that Christ should ever wipe off 
thy tears, that sheddest none at all ? Dost thou think to reap in 
joy, that sowest not with these showers ? Verily God will make 
his word good, (Pro v. xxix. 1,) "He that hardens his own 
heart shall perish suddenly." Hear this, you secure, sorrowless 
sinners : if ever God's hand be stretched out suddenly against 
thee, in blasting thy estate, snatching away thy children, the 
wife of thy bosom, the husband of thy delight ; in staining thy 
name, vexing thee with debts and crosses, sharp and sore, or 
lingering sicknesses, know that all this comes upon thee for a 
hard heart: but O, mourn for it now, you parents, children, ser- 
vants ; the tokens of death are upon you ; desire the Lord to 
break your hearts for you ; lie under God's hammer ; be not 
above the word, and suffer the Lord to take away that which 
grieves him most, even thy stony heart, because it grieves the 
least : meditate much of thy woful condition ; chew the bitter 
pill ; remember death and rotting in the grave ; that many are 
now in hell for their sins ; that Christ must die, or thou die for 
the least sin ; remember how patient and long suffering the Lord 
hath been to thee, and how long he hath groaned under thy 
burden, that, it may be, though he would, yet he can not bear 
the load long : let these things be mused on, that thy heart may 
be at last sorrowful before it be too late. But 0, the sad estate 
of many with us, that can mourn for any evil except it be for the 
greatest — sin, and death, and wrath that lie upon them ! 


Of exhortation. Labor for this sense of misery, for this spirit 
of compunction. How can you believe in Christ, that feel not 
your misery without him? A broken Christ can not do thee 
good without a broken heart ; be afflicted and mourn, ye sinners ; 
I turn your laughter into mourning; tremble to think of that 
wrath which burns down to the bottom of hell, and under which 
the eternal Son of God sweat drops of blood. Great sins, which 
thou knowest thou art guilty of, cause great guilt, and great 
hardness of heart, and therefore are seldom forgiven or subdued 
without great affliction of spirit ; they have loaded the Lord long, 
they must load thee. Little sins are usually slighted and ex- 
. tenuated, and therefore the Lord accounts them great ; and there- 
fore thy soul must be in bitterness for them before the Lord will 
pass them by. It is not every trouble that will serve the turn. 
Look that it be such as separates thy soul from sin, or else it will 
separate between thy soul and God. I know it is not in your 
power to break your own hearts, no more than to make the rocks 
to bleed ; yet remember, he that bids thee " cast up and prepare the 
way of the Lord," he hath promised that " every mountain shall 
\ be brought low, and the crooked ways made plain, and the rough 
I smooth, and the valleys filled." He only can do it for thee, and 
■ will do it for some, it may be for thee. He that broke the heart 
of Manasseh and Paul, after their blood and blasphemies, when 
they never desired any such thing, he can break thine much 
more when thou art desiring him to do it for thee. Here are 
many of you that fear you were never humbled nor burdened 
enough. I say, fear it still. Fear lest there be a stone in the 
bottom ; not so as to discourage and drive thy heart from Christ, 
but so as to feel a greater need of his grace to soften thy heart, 
and to take thy senselessness away. The Lord doth purposely 
command thee "to plow up thy fallow ground," that thou 
mightest feel thy impotency so to do, and come to him to take it 
away. Every thing will harden thee more and more until the 
Lord come and take thy stony heart away by his own hand. 
All God's kindness will make thee more bold to sin, and all God's 
judgments more fierce and obstinate in sin, unless the Lord put 
to his hand. If Pharaoh's heart be softened for a time, it Avill 
grow hard again, if the Lord take it not away. The means, 
therefore, for thee to get this compunction is, 1. To feel the evil 
of thy hard heart ; no surer token of reprobation than hard- 
ness, if continued in — especially for thy heart to grow hard 
under or after softening means, as it was in Pharaoh ; 2. To 
look up to the Lord in all ordinances, that he would take it away. 
Have not you great cause of abundant thankfulness, into 
15 * 

174 thp: sound believer. 

whose hearts the Lord hath let in fears and sorrows concerning 
your estates ? The blind world looks upon all troubles of con- 
science as temptations of the devil to despair, and the very way 
to run mad. And consider what the Lord hath done for you that 
have such. What if the Lord had left you without all feeling, 
as those in Eph. iv. 19? What if the Lord had smitten you 
with a spirit of slumber, as those Rom. xi. 8 ? Would not your 
estate have been then lamentable ? And have you/ no hearts to 
acknowledge his unspeakable goodness in a-weakening of you, 
in shaking thy very foundations ? Dost thou think that any ever 
had such a hard heart as tliou hast ? Dost not say so in secret 
before the Lord sometimes ? O, then what rich grace is this to 
give thee any sense and feehng of thy sin and danger by it, 
though it be never so little in thine eyes ! Some think these 
terrors are a judgment. It is true, if they were merely imagi- 
nary, or worldly and desperate ; but saith the apostle, (2 Cor. 
vii. 7,) " I thank God I made you sorry." Suppose thy sorrow 
should be only in regard of the punishment of sin, yet this is 
tlie Lord's goodness to make thy heart so far sensible, that once 
didst go like a beast to the slaughter, fearing no danger at all. 
The very means to prize favor from God is to feel wrath, (as 
well as sin.) and the very reason why the Lord hath let thee feel 
thy punishment heavy is, that thy soul might feel the evil of sin, 
by considering that if the fruits be so bitter, what is then the 
cause. Be not therefore weary of thy burden, so as to think 
the Lord pours out his vengeance on thee while thy trouble re- 
mains. O, consider that this is the hand of the Lord Jesus, and 
that he is now about to save thee, when he comes to work any 
compunction in, th*?e — especially such as whereby he doth not 
only cut thy heart with fears and sorrows, but cut thee off from 
thy sin, so far only as humbles thee, and drives thee to the Loi'd 
Christ to take them away. And so I come to the third particu- 
lar, of humiliation. 

Section IV. 

The third Act of Christ" s Power, which is Humiliation. 

The Lord Jesus, having thus broken the heart by compunc- 
tion, is not like a foolish builder that leaves off his work before he 
hath fully finished it ; and therefore, having thus wounded a 
poor sinner, he goes on to humble him also ; for though, in a 
large sense, a wounded, contrite sinner is a humble sinner, yet, 
strictly taken, there is a great diiference between them ; and 


therefore he is said " to dwell with the contrite and humble ; '* 
i. e., not only with those that be wounded with sin, but humbled 
for sin, although it is certain the soul is seldom or never effectu- 
ally wounded but it is also humbled at the same time. A man 
may be wounded sore even unto death, and yet the pride of the 
man is such that he will not fall down before him that smites 
him. So it is with many a poor sinner. The Lord hath sorely 
wounded him. that he will resist no more ; yet he will rather fly 
to his duties to heal him, or die alone, and sink under his dis- 
couragements, than stoop. beloved, man must down before 
the Lord Christ will take him up ; and therefore, in Is. xl. 
5-7, the glory of the Lord is promised to be revealed. But 
what means must be used for this end ? " Cry," saith the Lord. 
" What shall I cry ? " saith he. The Lord answers that all 
flesh is grass, and that the glory of it fades, and that the people 
are this grass ; i. e., not only that men's sins are vile, but that 
themselves also are grass ; nay, their glory and excellency is 
withering and fading ; and therefore not only mountains must be 
pulled down, but all flesh and the glory of it wither, before the 
Lord shall be revealed. 

I shall briefly open these four things : — 

1. "What is this humiliation.'^ 

2. What need there is of it. 

3. What means the Lord useth to work it. 

4. What measure of it is here required. 
What is this humiliation ? 

Look, as pride is that sin whereby a man conceited of some 
good in himself, and seeking some excellency to himself, exalts 
himself above God, so humiliation (in this place) is that work of 
the Spirit whereby the soul, being broken off from self-conceit 
and self-confidence in any good it hath or doth, submitteth unto, 
or lieth under, God, to be disposed of as he pleaseth. (1 Pet. v. 
6. Lev. xxvi. 41.) That look, as compunction cuts the sinner 
off from that evil that is in him, so humiliation cuts it off from 
all high conceits and self-confidence of that good which is in him, 
or which he seeks might be in him ; and so the soul is abased be- 
fore God. 

What need or necessity is there of this ? Because, — 
1. When the Lord hath wounded the hearts of his elect, this 
is the immediate work of their hearts, (if the Lord prevent 
them not by his grace, as many times he doth,) — they look to 
what good they have ; or, if they find little or none, they then 
seek for some in themselves, that thereby they may heal their 
wound, because they think thus, that as their sins have provoked 


God to anger against them, so if now they can reform and leave 
those sins, or, if not, repent and be sorry for them, if now they 
pray, and hear, and do as others do, they have some hope that 
this will heal their wound, and pacify the Lord toward them. 
When they see there is no peace in a sinful course, they will 
therefore try if there be any to be found in a good course ; and 
look, as Adam, when he saw his own shame and nakedness, hid 
himself from God in the bushes, and covered his nakedness with 
fig leaves, so the soul, not being able to endure to see its own 
nakedness and vileness, not knowing Christ Jesus, and he being 
far to seek, doth therefore labor to cover his wickedness and sin- 
fulness, which now he feels, by some of these fig leaves. And 
hence (Micah vi. 7) they inquire " wherewith they should come 
before the Lord ; should they bring rivers of oil, or thousands of 
lambs, or the first born of their body to remove the sin of their 
soul ? " Paul did account these duties gain, and set them at a 
high rate, because he thought that God did so himself. Wlien 
the Lord hath wounded the soul, the first voice it speaks is, 
What shall I do ? Do ? saith conscience ; leave thy sins, do as 
well as others, do with all thy might and strength, pray, hear, and 
confer ; God accepts of good desires, and requires no more of any 
man but to do what he can. Hence the soul phes both oars, 
though against wind and tide, and strives, and wrestles with his 
sins, and hopes one day to be better ; and here he rests. And 
observe it, look, as sin is his greatest evil, so the casting away of 
his sins, and seeking to be better, is very sweet to him ; and 
being so sweet, rests in what he hath, and seeks for what he 
w^ants, and so hopes all will be well one day, and so stays here ; 
although (God knows) it be without Christ, nor can not rest on 
him, though he hath heard of him a thousand times. And hence 
it is, if they can not do any thing to ease themselves, then their 
hearts sink, or, it may be, quarrel with God, that he makes them 
not better. But, beloved, it is wonderful to see how many times 
men rest in a little they have and do. 

2. But whiles it is thus with the soul, he is incapable of 
Christ; for he that trusts to other things to save him, or makes 
himself his own Saviour, or rests in his duties without a Saviour, 
he can never have Christ to save him. (Rom. ix. 32.) It is said 
the Jews lost Christ's righteousness, because they sought it not 
by faith, but sought salvation by their own righteousness. " He 
that maketh flesh his arm," (as all duties and endeavors of man 
be, when trusted to,) the Lord saith, '^ cursed be that man." 
( Jer. xvii. 5, 6.) Only the Lord doth not leave his elect here ; 
he that is married unto the la^y (Rom. vii.) cq.n not be matched 


unto Christ, till lie be first divorced, not from the duties them- 
selves, but from trusting to them, and resting in them. And 
therefore, saith Paul, " I through the law am dead to it, that I 
might live unto God." He thattrusteth to riches can not enter into 
the kingdom of heaven, no more than a camel through a needle's 
eye, because it is too big for so narrow a room ; so he that trusteth 
to his duties and abilities is too big to enter in by Christ. The 
Lord must cut off this spirit, and lay it low, and make it stoop as 
vile before God, before it can have Christ in this estate ; the 
Lord must not only cut it off from this self-confidence in duties, 
but also so far forth as that the soul may lie under God, to be 
disposed of as he pleaseth. And the reason is, because such a 
soul is unwilling to stoop, is unhumbled ; and he that is so doth 
not only on his part resist God, but the Lord also resists him. 
(Lam. iv. 7, 8.) And hence you shall observe, many a one hath 
lain long under distress of conscience, because they have either 
rested in their duties, which could not quiet, or because they 
have not so cast off their confidence in them, so as to lie down 
quietly before God, that he may do what he will with them ; 
being so long objects of God's resistance, not of his grace. By 
what means doth the Lord work this ? 

In general, by the Spirit, immediately acting upon the soul ; 
but after a Christian is in Christ, he hath by the habit of hu- 
mility, and the virtue of faith, some power to humble himself; 
but now the Spirit of Christ doth it immediately by its own om- 
nipotent hand ; else the proud heart would never down ; for we are 
first " created in Christ " (which is by God's omnipotent immediate 
act) unto good works, before we do from ourselves, or by the power 
of faith, put forth good works. (Eph. ii. 10.) These acts of 
self-confidence may not be stirring in all Christians ; but in all 
men there is this frame of spirit, never to come to Christ if they 
can make any thing else serve to heal them or save them ; and 
therefore the Spirit cuts off this sinful frame in part in all the 
elect ; he hews the roughness and pride of spirit off, that it may 
lie still upon the foundation it is now prepared for. Now, though 
the Spirit works this, yet it is not without the word; the word 
it works chiefly by is the law. (Gal. iii. 19,) "I through the 
law am dead to it," (i. e., from seeking any life or help from it,) 
" that I might live unto God." 

Now, the law doth this by a fourfold act. 

1. By discovering the secret corruption of the soul in every 
duty, which it never saw before. It once thought, I shall perish 
for my sins, if I continue therein, without confession of them, or 
sorrow for them ; but it also did think that this confession, 


sorrow, and trouble for sin, will serve to save it, and make God 
accept of it ; but the law (while the soul is earnestly striving 
against his sin) discovering that in all these there is nothing but 
sin, even secret sins it did never see before, hereupon it begins 
thus to think : Can these be the means of saving of me, which being 
so sinful, can not but be the very causes of condemning of me ? I 
know I must perish for the least sin, and now I see that in all I 
do, I can do nothing else but sin. What made Paul " alive with- 
out the law"? You shall find (Rom. vii. 7) it was because he 
did not know that lust, or the secret concupiscences and first 
risings of the soul to sin, were sin : he saw not these secret evils 
in all that which he did ; and hence he rested in his duties, as one 
alive without Christ ; but the Lord, by discovering this, let him 
see what little cause he had to lift up his hand, for any good he 
did. So it is here, when the soul sees that all its righteousness 
is a menstruous cloth, polluted with sin ; now, those duties, which, 
like reeds, are trusted to before, run into the hand, nay, heart of a 
poor sinner ; and therefore now it feels little cause of resting on 
them any longer ; now it sees the infinite holiness of God by the 
exceeding spiritualness of the law, it begins to cry out, How can 
I stand or appear before him with such continual pollutions ? 

2. By irritating or stirring up of original corruption, in 
making more of that to appear than ever before ; that if the soul 
thinks, All I do is defiled with sin, yet my heart is good, and so it 
rests there ; the Lord therefore stirs that dunghill, and lets it see a 
more hellish nature than ever before, in that the holy and blessed 
command of God (to its feeling) makes it worse, more rebellious, 
more averse from God. " When the commandment came, sin re- 
vived," saith Paul, and that " which was for life was death to him," 
sin taking occasion by the law; and hence Paul came "to be slain 
and die" to all his self-confidence. It was one of Luther's first po- 
sitions in opposing the pope's indulgences, that Lex et voluntas sunt 
duo adversarii sine gratia irreconciliahiles ; for the law and man's 
will meeting together, the one holy, the other corrupt, make fierce 
opposition when the soul is under a lively work of the law ; and 
by this irritation of the law, the Lord hath this end in his elect, 
to make them feel what wretched hearts they have, because that 
which is in itself a means of good makes them (through man's 
corruption) more vile to their feeling than ever before ; and hence 
come those sad complaints on a soul under the humbling hand of 
Christ : I am now worse than ever I was ; I grow every day worse 
and worse. I have lost what once I had ; I once could pray 
and seek God with delight, and never well but when one duty 
was done, to be in another ; but now I am worse ; all that joy 


aiitl sweetness in seeking of him, and in holy walking, is gone ; 
I could once mourn for sin, but now a hard heart takes hold of 
me, that I have not so much as a heart to any thing that is good, 
nor to shed a tear for the greatest evil. It is true, I confess you 
may grow (to your feeling) worse and worse, and it is fit you 
should feel it, that the Lord hereby might pull down your proud 
heart, and make you lie low ; it is the Lord's glorious wisdom 
to wither all your flowers, which refreshed you without Christ, 
that you might feel a need of him ; and therefore I say the Lord 
pulls away all those broken planks the soul once floated and 
rested upon, that the soul may sink in a holy despair of any 
help from any good it hath ; the Lord shakes down all building 
on a sandy foundation, and then the soul cries out. It is ill 
resisting here. 

3. By loading, tiring, and wearying the soul by its own en- 
deavors, until it can stir no more, — for this is in every man by 
nature, — when he sees that all he doth is sinful, and all he hath, 
his heart and nature, to be most sinful ; yet he will not yet come 
out of himself, because he hopes, though he be for the present thus 
vile, yet he hopes, for future time, his heart may grow better, 
and himself do better than now ; and hence it is that he strives, 
and seeks, and endeavors to his utmost, to set up himself again, 
and to gain cure to all his troubles by his duties : now, the law, 
whose office is to command, but not to give strength, and the 
Spirit that should give strength withdrawing itself, because it 
knows the soul would rest therein without Christ ; hence it comes 
to pass that the soul, feeling itself to labor only in the fire and 
smoke, and to be still as miserable and sinful as ever before, 
hereupon it is quite tired out, and sits down weary, not only of 
its sin, but of its work ; and now cries out, I see now what a vile 
and undone wretch I am ; I can do nothing for God or for myself; 
only I can sin and destroy myself; all that I am is vile, and all 
that I do is vile ; I now see that I am indeed poor, and blind, and 
miserable, and naked. And the truth is, beloved, here come in 
the greatest dejections of spirit ; for when the Lord smites the 
soul for sin, it hopes that, by leaving of sin and doing better, it 
may do well ; but when it sees that there is no hope here of 
healing the breach between God and itself, now it falls low 
indeed ; and I take this to be the true meaning of Matt. xi. 28, 
" Ye that labor," i. e., you that are wearied in your own way, in 
seeking rest to your souls by your own hard labor or works, 
(as the word y.07iiwi>TF; signifies,) and are tired out therein, and 
so are now laden indeed with sin and the heavy pressure of that, 
finding no ease by all that which you do : '" Come to me," saith 


Christ, " and you shall then find rest unto your souls." The 
Jews, seeking to establish their own righteousness, — seeking, I 
say, if by any means they might establish it, — lost Christ : the 
Lord, therefore, will make his elect know they shall seek here 
for ease in vain, and therefore tires them out. 

4. By clearing up the equity and justice of God in the law, 
if the Lord should never pity nor pardon it, nor show any 
respect or favor to it ; for this is the frame of every man's heart, 
if he can not find rest in his duties and endeavors, as he once 
expected he should, but sees sin and weakness, death and con- 
demnation, wrapping him about (like Jonah's weeds) in all he 
doth, then his heart sinks, and quarrels, and falls off farther 
from Christ by discouragement, and grows secretly impatient 
that there should be no mercy left for him ; because it thinks 
now the Lord's eternal purpose is to exclude him ; for if there 
were any thoughts of peace toward him, he should have found- 
peace before now, having so earnestly and frequently sought the 
Lord, and having done so much, and forsaken his sinful ways, 
according to his own commandment from him. And hence it 
is, you shall find it a certain truth that the soul is turned back 
as far from God by sinking discouraging sorrows for sin, as ever 
it was to a state of security by the pleasures of sin ; and hence 
sometimes it thinks it is vain to seek any more, and hence leaves 
off duties ; and if conscience force it to them, yet it sinks again, 
because its foot is not stablished upon the rock Christ, but upon 
the weakness of the waters of its own abilities and endeavors. 
What, therefore, should the soul do in this case to come to God ? 
It knows not ; it can not fly from him, it dare not, it shall not ; 
the Spirit, therefore, by revealing how equal and just it is for 
the Lord never to regard or look after it more, because it hath 
sinned and is still so sinful, makes it hereby to fall down 
prostrate in the dust before the Lord, as worthy of nothing 
but shame and confusion, and so kisseth the rod, and turns the 
other cheek unto the Lord, even smiting of him, acknowledging, 
if the Lord show mercy, it will be wonderful ; if not, yet the 
Lord is righteous, and therefore hath no cause to quarrel against 
him for denying special mercy to him, to whom he doth not owe 
a bit of bread. And now the soul is indeed humbled, because 
it submits to be disposed of as God pleaseth. Thus the church, 
in her humihation, (Lam. iii. 22,) having, in the former part 
of -the chapter, " drunk the wormwood and the gall," at last lies 
down and professeth, " It is the Lord's mercy it is not con- 
sumed ; " and verse 29, " He puts his mouth to the dust if there 
may be any hope ; " and verse 39, "Why should a living man 


complain for the punishment of his sin ? " You think the Lord 
doth you wrong, and neglects your good and his own glory too, 
if he doth not give you peace and pardon, grace and mercy, 
even to the utmost of your asking, and then think you have 
hence good cause to fret, and sink, and be discouraged. No, no ; 
the Lord will pulldown those mountains, those high thoughts, and 
make you lie low at his feet, and acknowledge that it is infinite 
mercy you are alive, and not consumed ; and that there is 
any hope or possibility of mercy; and that you are out of the 
nethermost pit ; and that if he should never pity you, yet he 
doth you no wrong, but that which is equal and just, and that 
it is fit your sinful, froward wills should stoop to his holy, 
righteous, and good will, rather than that it should stoop and 
be crooked according unto yours. Believe it, brethren, " he 
that judgeth not himself" thus, " shall be judged of the Lord :" 
how can you have mercy that will set yourselves up in God's 
sovereign throne to dispose of it, and will not lie down humbly 
under it, that it may dispose of you ? For are you worthy of it ? 
hath the Lord any need of you "^ have you not provoked him 
exceedingly ? was there ever any that dealt worse with him than 
you ? beloved, lie low here, and learn of the church, (Micah 
vii. 9,) " I will bear the indignation of the Lord, because I have 
sinned against him." It was a most blessed frame of spirit in 
Aaron, when he saw God's hand against him in cutting off his 
children ; " and Aaron held his peace ; " so, if the Lord should 
cast thee off, cut thee off, never take pleasure in such a polluted, 
broken vessel, unfit for any use for him, hold thou thy peace ; 
quarrel not, be silent before him, and say as they did, (2 Chron. 
xii. 5,) " The Lord is righteous, but I am vile ; let him do with 
me what seemeth good in his own eyes ; " and thus the Lord 
Jesus, by the law, doth dead the soul to the law, until it be made 
to submit like wax, or like clay to the hand of the potter, to 
frame it a vessel to what use he pleaseth ; and as the apostle 
most excellently (Rom. vii.) divorceth it from its first husband, 
(i. e., sin and the law) that it may be married unto Jesus Christ, 
In a word, when the Lord Christ hath made the soul feel not 
only its inability to help itseff, — and so saith Paul, (Gal. ii. 20,) 
" It is not I," — but also its own unworthiness, that the Lord 
should help it, and so cries out with Job, " Behold I am vile ; " 
now, at this instant, it is vas capax — a vessel ca^jable (though 
unworthy) of any grace. (Lam. iv. 6.) 

The last question remains, What measure of humiliation is 
here necessary ? 

Look, as so much conviction is necessary which begets com- 



punction, and so mucli compunction as breeds humiliation, so 
so much humiliation is necessary as introduceth faith, or as 
drives the soul out of itself unto Christ ; for, as the next end of 
conviction is compunction, and that of compunction is humilia- 
tion, so the next end of humiliation is faith, or coming to Christ, 
which we shall next speak unto. 

And hence it is that the Lord calls unto the weary and 
heavy laden to come unto him. (Matt. ii. 27.) So much as 
makes you come for rest in Christ, so much is necessary, and no . 
more. If any can come without being thus laden and weary, in l 
some measure, let them come and drink of the water of life free- i 
ly ; but a proud heart that will make itself its own Saviour will 
not come to the Lord Jesus to be his Saviour ; he that will be 
his own physician so long can not send out for another. Nay, let me 
fall one degree lower : if the soul can not come to Christ, (as who 
feel not themselves unable when the Lord comes to draw ?) 
and find not the Lord Jesus coming unto them, to draw them 
and compel them in, yet if the soul be so far humbled as not to 
resist the Lord, by quarrelling with him, and at him, as unwor- 
thy of the least smile, as worthy of all frowns, verily, the Lord 
will come to it, and no more is requisite than this ; and thus much 
certainly is, for thus the whole Scripture runs : " He gives grace 
to the humble." (James iv. 6.) " I dwell with the contrite and 
humble." (Is. Ivii. 1 6.) " The poor afflicted shall not always 
be forgotten." (Ps. ix. 12, 18.) " When their uncircumcised 
hearts are humbled, so as to accept of the punishment of their in- 
iquity, the Lord then remembers his covenant." (Lev.) xxvi. 
41, 42.) Conceive it thus; there can be no union to Christ 
while there is a power of resistance and opposition against Christ. 
The Lord Christ must, therefore, in order of nature, (for I now 
speak not of order of time,) first removere prohibens, remove this 
resistance before he can, and that he may, unite. I do not mean 
resistance of the frame of grace, but, as was said, of the Lord 
of grace, whereby he comes to work it. 

Now, there is a double resistance, or two parts of this resist- 
ance, like a knife without edges. 

1. A resistance of the Lord by a secret unwillingness that the 
Lord should work grace. Now, this the Lord removes in com- 
punction, and no more brokenness for sin or from sin is" neces- 
sary there than that. 2. A resistance of the Lord by sinking 
discouragements, and a secret quarrelling with him, in case the 
soul imagines he will not come to work grace or manifest 
grace. Now, this the Lord takes away in humiliation ; and no 
more is necessary here than the removal of the power of this, 


which makes the soul, in the sense of its own infinite vileness 
and unworthiness, not to quarrel at the Lord, and, devil-like, grow 
fierce and impatient, before and against the Lord, in case he 
should never help it, never pity it, never succor it. " The Lord 
will not forsake forever, if the soul thus lies down and puts its 
mouth in the dust." (Lam. iii. 30, 31.) 

Which consideration is of unspeakable use and consolation to 
every poor empty nothing that feels itself unable to believe, and 
the Lord forsaking it from helping it to believe. And I have 
seen it constantly that many a chosen vessel never hath been 
comforted till now, and ever comforted when now ; they never 
knew what hurt them till they saw this, and they have immedi- 
ately felt their hurt healed when this hath been removed. In 
comforting Christians under deep distress, tell them of God's 
grace and mercy, and the riches of both, you do but torment 
them the more, that there should be so much, and they have no 
part nor share in it, and think they never shall, because this is 
not the immediate way of cure. Tell them, rather, when they 
are full of these complaints, that they are as they speak, vile 
and sinful, and therefore worthy never to be accepted of God, and 
that they have no cause to wonder that they have their lives, and 
are on this side hell, and so turn all that they say to humiliation 
and self-loathing ; verily, you shall then see, if the Lord intends 
good, he will by this do them good, and the weakest Christian 
tliat cannot come to Christ, you shall see, first or last, shall see 
cause to lie down and be silent, and not quarrel, though the Lord 
should never come to him. And that this is necessary may 
appear thus : otherwise, — 

1. The Lord should not advance the riches of his grace. 
The advancement of grace cannot possibly be without the hu- 
miliation and abasement of the creature ; the Lord not only 
saves, but calls, things that are not, that " no flesh might glory." 
(1 Cor. i. 28, 29.) 

2. Otherwise the Lord should not be Lord and Disposer of his 
own grace, but a sinful creature who quarrels against God, if it 
be not disposed of, not as the Lord will, but as the creature will. 
If a stranger comes to our house, and will have wdiat he wants, 
and if he hath not, he quarrels and contends with the master of 
the house, what would he say ? " Away, proud beggar ! dost think 
to be lord of what I have ? dost draw thy knife to stab me if I 
do not please thee and give thee thy asking ? No, thou shalt 
know that I will do with my own as I see good ; thou shalt lie 
down on the dustof my threshhold before I give thee any thing." 
So it is with the Lord. " It is not in him that willeth, nor in him 
that runneth, but in God that showeth mercy." It is his princi- 


pal name, " I will be mercifal to vrliom I will be merciful ; " and 
therefore if you will not believe me, yet believe the Lord's 
oath. (Is. xlv. 23,) "Unto me shall every knee bow;'' and do 
you come to lord it over him, and quarrel and fret, and sink and 
grow sullen, and vex, if the" Lord stoop not UDto your desires ? 
'No, no ; you must and shall lie upon his threshhold ; nay, he will 
make thee lay thy neck upon the block, as worthy of nothing but 
cutting off, and then, when this "valley is hlled, all flesh shall 
see the glory of the Lord." (Is. xl. 5.) Thus humiliation is 
necessary in this measure mentioned. Not that I deny any sub- 
sequent humiliation, after a Christian is in Christ, arising from 
the sense of God's favor in Christ, than which nothing makes a 
Christian of an evangelical spirit more ashamed of himself; yet 
I dare not exclude this, which is antecedent, arising from the 
spirit of power immediately subduing the soul to Christ that it 
may be exalted by Christ. (1 Pet. v. 6.) It is true, all things 
that pertain to life and godliness are received by faith ; (2 Pet. 
i. 3 ;) yet faith is less a saving work, which is not received by any 
precedent faith. Faith, therefore, is to be excepted, not only as 
begotten in us, but as it is in the begetting of it in the conviction 
and humiliation of every sinner. 

Hence, see what is the great hinderance between the mercy of 
God and the soul of many a man ; if it be not some sin and 
hardness of heart under it, whereby he cares not for Christ to 
deliver him, then it is some pride of spirit arising from some 
good he hath, whereby he feels no need of Christ, hoping his 
own duties shall save him ; or else is above Christ, and not under 
him, willing to be disposed of by him. And hence the Lord 
makes this the highway of mercy, (Lev. xxvi. 40,) if first they 
shall confess their sins ; secondly, humble themselves, (both 
which I know the Lord must work,) then he will remember his 
covenant. Look as it is with a vessel before it can be fit for use : 
it must first pass through fire, and the earth and dross severed 
from it ; then it must be made holy and empty, which makes it 
vas ccfpax, a vessel capable of receiving that which shall be 
poured into it. If (O brethren) the Lord hath some vessels of 
glory, which he prepares beforehand, and makes capable of 
glory, (Rom. ix. 21, 22 ;) if the Lord doth not sever you from 
sin in compunction, and empty you of youi^elves in humihation, 
you can not receive Christ, nor mercy — you can not hold them ; 
and if ever you miss of Christ by faith, your wound lies here. 
How many be there at this day, that were once profane and 
wicked, but now by some terrors and outward restraints upon 
them they leave their sins, and say they loathe them, and pur- 
pose never to run riot as they have done ; and hence, because 


they think themselves very pjood, or to have some good, they fall 
short of Christ, and are still in the gall of bitterness, in the 
midst of all evil. It were the happiness of some men, if they ' 
did not think themselves to have some good because this is their 
Christ. O you that live under precious means, and have many 
fears you may perish and be deceived at the last I But why do you 
fear ? I know you will answer, " O, some secret and unknown 
sin may be my ruin." It is true, and you do well to have a 
godly jealousy thereof. But remember this also, not only some 
sin, but some good thou thinkest thou hast, and restest in without 
Christ, and lifting thee up above Christ, may as easily prove thy 
ruin ; because a man's own righte'ousness rested in doth not only 
hide men's sins, but strengthens them in some sin by which men 
perish. Trusting to one's own righteousness, and committing 
iniquity, are couples. (Ezek. xxxiii. 13.) Nor do I hereby run 
into the trenches of that wicked generation of the Familists, de- 
nying all inherent graces ; evidence of favor from any Christian 
obedience, or sanctification in holy duties ; or that a Christian 
should profanely cast off all duties, because they cannot save 
themselves by them. No, no ; the Lord will search with candles 
one day for such sons of darkness, and exclude- such foolish 
virgins, that they have neither oil in their vessels nor light in 
their lamps. I only speak of that good, that righteousness which 
is rested in without Christ, and lifts up men above Christ, which 
in deed and in truth is not true righteousness, but only a true 
shadow of it. And, therefore, as Beza well observes from Rom. 
ix. 32, " Why did not Israel, that followed after righteousness, 
attain it ? Because they sought it not by faith, but as it were 
by the works of the law ; " they were not fruits of sincere 
obedience to the law, but as it were the works of the law ; 
now this, saith the apostle, (ver. 33,) is the stumbling stone in 
Zion. Christ will have all flesh veil, and be stripped naked, and 
made nothing before him, before they shall ever be built upon 
him. Now, this men stumble at ; they must bring something to 
him ; they will not be vile, emptiness, and nothingness, that he 
may be all to them. Verily, observe yourselves, and you shall 
find, if there be little hurxUhation, there is little of Christ ; if 
much humiliation, much of Christ; if unconstant humiliation, 
uncertain fruition of Christ ; if real humiliation, real possession of 
Christ ; if false humiliation, imaginary fruition of Christ. Know 
it, you can not perish if you fall not short here — you must perish 
if you do. 

Be exhorted, therefore, to lie down in the dust before the 
Lord, and under the Lord ; nav, entreat the Lord that he would 


put thee upon his wheel, and mold thy heart to his will ; why 
will you rest in any good you have? O, remember thy father 
was a Syrian, ready to jDerish, and thyself polluted, an infinite, 
endless evil. Whatever good thou dost, is it not a polluted 
stream of a more polluted spring ? Nay, suppose the Spirit 
works any good in thee, yet is it not polluted by thy unclean 
heart ? Nay, suppose any actions should be perfect, yet remem- 
ber that the Lord spared not the angels that sinned ; perfection 
present can not satisfy justice for pollution past. Cry out, there- 
fore, and say, O Lord, now I see not only that my sin is vile, but 
that myself and all my righteousness is vile also ; and now, 
though the Lord stands at a distance, speaks no peace, hears no 
prayers, yet because thou art very vile, lie down under him, that 
if he will he may tread upon thee, and thereby exalt himself, as 
well as lift thee up and exalt thee. Be not careless whether 
the Lord help or no, but be humbled, not to quarrel in case he 
should not. For, — 

1. Suppose thou art not only miserable, but sinful, and the 
Lord (thou sayest) takes it not away ; yet remember, that to 
quarrel with God for withdrawing his hand is a sin also, (Lam. 
iii. 39 ;) and wilt thou add sin to sin ? 

2. Why art thou quiet and still when the Lord denies thee any 
common mercy ? Is it not because the Lord will have it so ? 
Now, look as we say of him that hates sin as sin, that he 
hates all sin ; so he that is meekened with God's good pleasure 
in any one thing because of his good pleasure in it, upon the 
same ground will at least desire to stoop in every thing. Sup- 
pose, therefore, it be the Lord's good pleasure to deny thee 
mercy ; I grant you must pray for it, yet with submission to the 
good will of the Lord, saying, The Lord's will is good, but mine 
is evil ; otherwise thou hast no meekness in any thing — thou 
art not meekly subject to his will in every thing. 

3. The greatest pride that is in man appears here ; for sup- 
pose the Lord should deny thee bread, or water, or clothes, was 
it your duty to murmur now ? nay, was it not pride, if the heart 
would not lie down, and say. Lord I am wortliy to have my 
bread plucked from my mouth, and my clothes from my back ? 
Now, if it be pride to murmur in case the Lord denies you smaller 
matters, the oflfiils of this life, dost not thou see that it is far 
greater pride for thee to sink and quarrel with him if he denies 
thee greater, and the things of another life ? Is he bound to 
give thee greater, that doth not owe thee the least ? Suppose a 
beggjti' murmur at thy door if thou dost deny him bread, or a 
cup of drink, wilt thou not account him a proud, stout beggar ? 
But if thou givest him that, and then he quarrel and murmur at 


thee because tliou dost not give him a thousand pounds, or thy 
whole estate when he asks it, will you not say, I never met with 
the like insolency? The Lord gives you your lives, blessed be 
his name, but you ask for treasures of grace and mercy, thou- 
sands of pounds, Christ himself, and all that he is worth, and the 
Lord seems to deny you, and now you sink and grow sullen, and 
discontent, and quarrel, and murmur at Gocl, not directly, but 
secretly and slyly ; may not the Lord now say, Was there ever 
such pride and insolency ? And therefore, as Christ spoke of 
himself, (John xii. 24, 25,) "A corn of wheat can not live unless it 
die first," so know it, you shall never live with Christ; unless you 
die and perish in yourselves, unless you be sown and lie under 
the clods of your own wretchedness, faith will never spring up 
in such a soul. As it is in burnings, the lire must be first taken 
out, before there can be any healing, so this impatient spirit, 
which torments the soul, must first be removed, before the Lord 
will heal thee. 

4. Consider the approaching times ; I do believe the Lord at 
this day is coming out to shake all nations, all hearts, all con- 
sciences, all conditions, and to tear and rend from you your 
choicest blessings, peace and plenty, both external and internal 
also ; for there is need of it; our age grows full, and proud, and 
wanton ; a man's price is fallen in the market, unless his locks and 
new fashions commend him to the world. O, consider when God 
comes to rend all from you, then you may find a need of the 
exercise of this duty ; it may be the time is coming wherein you 
shall have nothing to support your hearts, you shall find rest in 
no way but this ; I know assurance of God's love may quiet you ; 
but what if the Lord shake all your foundations, and deprive 
you of that ? What will you do then ? And therefore, as Zepha- 
niah, (ii. 3,) having foretold of the evil day, cries unto his hearers, 
" Seek meekness, ye meek of the earth ; " seek meekness ; so 
say I to you ; for you will find all little enough. Come down 
from thy throne, and be the footstool and threshhold of Christ 
Jesus, before the days of darkness come upon you ; be content 
to be a cipher, a stepping stone, the very offal of the world. 

But you will say, Wherein should I express this humiliation 
and subjection? 

Be highly thankful for any little the Lord gives. (Lam. iii. 22, 
23.) Be humble, and judge thyself worthy of nothing when the 
Lord denies ; and verily you shall find the Lord Jesus ere long 
speaking peace unto you, and giving thee rest in his bosom, that 
now art quietly contented to lie still at his feet. 

For some helps thereunto, — 


1. Remember whose thou art ; viz., the Lord's clay, and he 
thy potter, and therefore may do with thee what he will. (Rom. 
ix. 20.) 

2. Remember what thou art ; viz., a polluted vessel, a kind of 
infinite, endless evil, as I have oft said. See the picture of thy 
own vileness in the damned in hell, who are full, and shall through 
all eternity pour out all manner of evih (Job xl. 3, 4.) 

3. Remember what thou hast been, and how long thou hast 
made war against Christ with all thy might, and heart, and 
strength ; why should the Lord therefore choose thee before 
others, (Jer. iii. 5,) wdien as, (ask thy conscience,) was there 
ever such a wretch since the world began as thou hast been ? 

4. Remember what thou wilt be : fit for no use to Jesus Christ, 
good for nothing but to pollute his holy name when thou med- 
dlest with it ; and why should the Lord take up such a dry leaf, 
(Is. Ixiv. 6,) and breathe upon such a dry bone ? 

5. Remember how good the Lord's will is, even when it 
crosseth thine ; he shall have infinite glory by all his denials to 
thee of what thou wouldest; he shall gain that, though thou losest 
thy peace and quietness, tiiat good which thy foolish, sinful will 
desires at his hand, (John xii. 27, 28 ;) and if so, blessed be his 
name ; let God live, but let man die and perish, that he may be 
exalted of vile man. 

6. Remember the sweet rest thou shalt have by this subjec- 
tion to the Lord ; nothing is man's cross but man's will ; a stub- 
born will, like a stubborn heifer in the yoke, galls and frets the 
soul. Learn meekness, saith our Saviour, of me, in taking my 
yoke on you, and then you shall find rest. Hell would not be 
hell to a heart truly humbled. Sometimes you find enlargements, 
then you are glad ; sometimes none, then you sink ; sometimes 
you have hope of mercy, then you are calm ; sometimes you lose 
your hopes, then the sea works. When the Lord pleaseth you, 
then you are well ; but if a little cross befall you, then your s])ring 
is muddy, and a little thing troubles. O, be humble and vile in 
thine own eyes, and verily such uncertain fits of peace and trouble 
are done, and the days of all your mourning are now ended. 

Of thankfulness, to all those whom the Lord hath truly hum- 
bled. Time was, when the Lord first convinced you, that so 
long as you could make any shift, find rest in any duties, you 
would never lie dowm at Christ's feet; now the Lord might have 
left you to have stumbled at that stumbling stone, and to have 
stuck in those bushes ; but you may see that the Lord v/ill save you 
even then when you would not be saved by him ; and especially" 
take notice of two passages of God's dealings with you, wherein 


usually you find matter of discouragement, rather than of acknowl- 
edgment of God's goodness to you therein. 1. That the Lord 
hath withdrawn all feeling of any good which it may be once you 
felt, and that the Lord hath let out more of the evil of your hearts 
than ever you imagined was in them ; nay, so much evil that you 
think there is none like unto you, who hast now no heart nor 
power to stir, think, desire, will, or do any thing that is good. 
O, bless the Lord for this, for this is God's way to humble, and 
empty, and make thee poor ; the Lord saw, though it may be you 
did not, that you rested in that good you felt, and was or would 
be lifted up by these ; and therefore the Lord hath broken 
those crazy crutches, famished now, brought you down to nothing, 
made you like dry deserts ; all the hurt the Lord aimeth at in this 
being only to humble you, and though these desertions be bitter 
for the present, yet that by these he might do you good in your 
latter end. O brethren, the apostle stands at a stay, and desires 
the Corinthians to consider. " You see your calling," saith he. 
(1 Cor. i.) " Not many mighty, not many wise, but things that 
are not doth he call, that no flesh might glory." " The Lord," 
saith Moses, (Deut. viii. 2, 3,) "suflfered thee to want," (that was 
the first,) and then " fed thee, that he might prove thee and 
humble thee ; remember this," saith he. So say I to you, 
remember this mercy, that when the Lord makes you worst of 
all, not real, but in your own eyes, that then the Lord is about 
this glorious work. 

2. That the Lord hath kept you (it may be a long time, too) 
from sight and sense of his peculiar love : one would wonder why 
the Lord should hide his love so much, so long, from those to 
whom he doth intend it ; the great reason is, because there is in 
many a one a heart desirous of his love ; and this would quiet 
them, if they were sure of it : but they never came to be quieted 
with God's will, in case they think they shall never partake of his 
love ; but are above that, oppose, and resist, and quarrel with 
that, unhumbled under that ; the Lord therefore intending to be- 
stow his favor only upon a humbled sinner, he will therefore hide 
his face until they lie low, and acknowledge themselves worthy of 
nothing but extremity of misery, unworthy of the least mercy. 

The people of God (Lam. i. 16) cry out that "the comforter 
which should refresh their soul was far from them." What was 
'God's end in this? you shall see the end of it; (ver. 18,) "The 
Lord is righteous," (here the church is humbled,) " for I have 
rebelled ; " or, (as Zanchius reads it,) " I have made his mouth 
bitter," that the Lord speaks no peace to me, but bitter things. 
The cause is in my own self, and therefore if he never comfort 


me, nor speak good word unto me, yet he is righteous, but I am 
vile ; and you will find this certain, that as the Lord therefore 
humbles that he may exalt, so the Lord never refuseth to exalt, 
(in hiding his face) but it is to humble. And is this the worst 
the Lord aims at, and will you not be thankful ? Why are you, 
then, discouraged when you find it thus with you ? Do not say 
the Lord never dealt thus with any as with me ; suppose that ; 
the reason then is, because the Lord sees, never had any such a 
high heart as thou hast ; but O, be thankful that, notwithstand- 
ing this, he will take the pains to take it down. 

Thus inuch for humiliation. I come now to the fourth and 
last, which is faith. 

Section V. 
The fourth and last Act of Christ's Power is the Work of Faith. 

The Lord having wounded • and humbled his elect, and laid 
them down dead at his feet, they are now as unable to believe as 
they were to humble their own souls ; and therefore now the 
Lord takes them ug into his own arms, that they lean and rest 
on the bosom of their beloved by faith. After Joseph had spoken 
roughly to his brethren, and thereby brought the blood of their 
brother to remembrance, and so had humbled them ; and then 
he can contain no longer, but discovers himself to them, and tells 
them, " I am Joseph, whom you wickedly sold, yet fear not ; " so 
doth our Saviour carry it toward his elect, when he laid them low : 
now is the very season for him to advance the glory of his grace ; 
he can not now contain himself any longer ; but having torn and 
taken away that vail of sin and of the law from off their hearts, 
now they see the Lord wdth open face, even the end of that 
w^hich was to be abolished. (2 Cor. iii.) The explication of this 
great work is of exceeding great difficulty ; nothing more stirring 
than faith in a true Christian, because he lives by it, yet it is 
very little known ; as children in the womb, that know not that 
navel string by which they principally live : I shall therefore be 
wary, and leaving larger explications, acquaint you with the 
nature of faith, in this brief description of it. 

Faith is that gracious work of the Spirit, whereby a humbled 
sinner receiveth Christ ; or whether the whole soul cometh out 
of itself to Christ, for Christ and all his benefits, upon the call of 
Christ in his word. 

Before I open this particularly, give me leave to premise some 
general considerations. Faith is the complement of effectual 


vocation, which begins in God's call, and ends in this answer to 
that call ; the Lord prevents a poor humbled soul with his call, 
either not knowing how, or not able, or not daring to come ; and 
then the soul comes, and hence men called and believing are all 
one. (Rom. ix. 24, with 33.) Many a wounded sinner will be 
scrambling after Christ from some general reports of him, before 
the day and hour of God's glorious and gracious call. Now, for 
any to receive Christ, or come to Christ before he is called, is 
presumption ; to refuse Christ when called is rebellion ; to come 
and receive when called is properly and formally faith, and that 
which the Scripture styles the " obedience of faith." (Rom. i. 5.) 
And now Christ at this instant is fully and freely given on God's 
part, when really and freely come unto and taken on our part. 

This receiving of Christ, or coming to Christ, is for substance 
the same, though the words be diverse ; the Holy Ghost usetli to 
express one and the same thing in variety of words, that our fee- 
bleness might the better understand what he meaneth. And 
hence in Scripture, helieving, coming, receiving ChrisU rolling, 
trusting, cleaving to the Lord, etc., set out one and the same 
thing; and therefore it is no wonder if our divines have differ- 
ent descriptions of faitli in variety of words ; which, if well con- 
sidered, do but set out one and the same thing : and I do conceive 
they do all agree in this description I have now mentioned ; I 
know there are some who tread awry here, whom I shall briefly 
note out, and so pass on to what we intend. 

1. The Papists, with some others of corrupt judgments, at 
least of weak apprehensions among ourselves, describe faith to be 
nothing else but a supernatural assent to a divine truth, because of 
a divine testimony ; ex. gr., to assent to this truth, that Christ is 
come, that he is the Son of God, that he was dead and is risen 
aiiain, that he is the Saviour of the world, etc. ; and to confirm this 
llicy produce Matt. xvi. 16; 1 John iv. 3. 

it is granted that this assent is in faith, for faith always hath 
respect to some testimony ; for man by his fall hath lost all 
knowledge of divine and supernatural truths ; hence God reveals 
them in his word ; hence faith sees them and assents to them, 
because God hath spoken them : to see and know things by 
vision is to see things in themselves intuitively and immediately; 
but to see things by faith is to see them by and in a testimony 
given of them. (John xx. 20,) " Blessed is he that hath not 
seen," (i. e., Christ immediately,) " but believed," i. e., his testi- 
mony, and on him in it ; this assent, therefore, is in faith, for 
we must believe Christ before we can believe in him ; but this 
comprehends not the whole nature of faith ; I mean of that faith 


we are now speaking of, viz., as it unites us to Christ, and pos* 
sesseth us with Christ. For, — 

1. This description placeth faith only in the understanding, 
whereas it is also in the will, as the words trusting, rolling, etc., 

2. This assent is merely general, without particular appli- 
cation, which is ever in true faith. (Gal. ii. 20.) 

3. This is such a faith as the devils may have, (James ii. 19,) 
and reprobate men may have. (2 Pet. ii. 20, 21. Heb. xx. 26.) 
There is a wilful refusing of the known truth. 

4. It is the Papist's aim to vilify faith hereby, by describing 
it by that which is one ingredient in it, but excluding that which 
is principal ; those phrases, therefore, of " believing Christ is 
come in the flesh," (1 John iv. 3,) and that "he is the Son of 
God," (Matt. xvi. 16,) as if this were the only object to faith, 
are not to be understood exclusively, excluding other acts of faith, 
which the Scripture in other places sets down clearly ; but in- 
clusively, as supposing them to be contained herein ; for as Ave 
in our times, describing faith by relying upon Christ for salva- 
tion, do not exclude hereby our believing that he is the Messiah, 
but we include it, or suppose it, because that is not now ques- 
tioned, the truth of the gospel being so abundantly cleared, so 
in those times, they described faith by one principal act, to believe 
that he was the Son of God, and come into the flesh, because this 
was the main and principal thing in question then : and if the] 
Lord had not set our faith by other acts in Scripture, we shoulc 
not vary from our compass in such expressions in the word 
these days ; for their faith then is exemplary to us now ; becausel 
the word doth more fully set it out in more special acts, hence 
we set it out also by them ; for it is evident, as the Jews did be- 
lieve in a Messiah to come, so they did also believe, and look for 
all good from him. (John iv. 25,) " He will teach us all things 
when he comes : " and therefore their faith did not confine itself 
to that historical act that a Messiah should come, or that this was 
the Messiah, but they did expect and look for all good from him : 
and hence the apostle expounding this saying, viz., believing that 
Christ is dead and risen again, we shall hereby be saved : " If 
thou believest " (saith he) '• with thine heart " this truth, " thou 
shalt be saved." Now, to believe with the heart, as it doth 
exclude assent, so it necessarily includes the acts of the will and 
affections in relying upon him, and coming to him. And hence, 
when Peter had made that confession, (Acts xvi. 16,) Christ 
tells him, " Thou art Peter ; " i. e,, a stone resting upon the rock, 
(as some good interpreters expound it ;) and therefore Peter's 


faith did not exclude these principal acts of resting on Christ, 
cleaving to Christ, but did include and suppose them. 

2. Some run into another extreme, and make faith nothing 
else but a persuasion or assurance that Christ died for me in 
particular, or that he is mine. That which moves some thus to 
think, is the universal redemption by the death of Christ ; they 
know no ground or bottom for faith but this proposition, Clirist 
died for thee, and hence makes redemption universal : and hence 
the Arminians boast so much of their quod luiusquisque tcnetur 
credere, etc. But, 1. This is a false bottom, for Christ hath not 
died for all, because he hath not prayed for all. (John xvii. 2.) 

3. This is a sandy bottom and foundation, which when a 
Christian rests upon, it shakes under him, when the soul shall 
think, Though Christ hath died for me, yet no more for me than 
for Judas, or thousands of reprobates now in hell. Indeed, after 
faith, a Christian is bound to believe it, as Paul did. (Gal. ii. 
20. 1 Cor. XV. 1, 2.) 

I conceive, therefore, those holy men of ours who have 
described faith by assurance, have not so much aimed at a de- 
scription of what faith is in itself, as it possesseth us with Christ ; 
but of what degree and extent it- may be, and should be, in us ; 
they describe it therefore by the most eminent act of it, in full 
assurance : and therefore consult with the authors of this descrip- 
tion, and inquire of them. Is there no doubting mixed with faith? 
Yes, (say they,) man's doubtings sometimes are even unto a kind 
of despair, but then (say they) it should not be thus. The Papists 
commend doubtings, and deny assurance, place faith in a general 
assent ; our champions, that were to wrestle with them, main- 
tained it to be a particular application, (and not only a general 
assent,) and that with a full assurance of persuasion, which, being 
the most eminent act of faith, excludes not other inferior acts of 
it, which as they are before it, so may possess the soul with 
Christ without it. Although v»'ith all, it is certain, that there is 
no true faith but it hath some assurance, of which afterward. 

Let me now come to the explication of the description given, 
where note these five things : — 

1. The efficient cause of faith ; it is a work of the Spirit. 

2. The subject, or matter in which it is seated, viz., the soul 
of a humble sinner. 

3. The form of it, viz., the coming of the whole soul to Christ. 

4. The end of it, viz., for Christ and all his benefits. 

5. The special ground and means of it, viz., the call of Christ 
in his word. 

1. The efficient cause of faith. 

VOL. I. 17 


Faith is a gracious work of the Spirit of Christ ; the Spirit, 
therefore, is the efficient cause or principal workman of faith ; the 
Spirit doth not believe, but causeth us to believe ; it is not prin- 
cipium quod, the principle which dotli believe, but principium 
quo, the principle by which we do ; the souls of all the elect 
(especially when humbled) are, of all other things, most unable to 
believe : nay, look, as, before compunction and humiliation, Satan 
held the soul captive chiefly by its lusts and sins, so now, when the 
Lord hath burnt those cords, and broken those chains, all the 
powers of darkness strengthen themselves, and keep the soul 
under mightily, by unbelief. What do you tell me of mercy ? 
(saith the soul :) it is mercy which I have continually resisted, 
desperately despised: why do you persuade me to believe? 
Alas ! I can not ; it is true, all that which you say is true, if I 
could believe, but I can not see Christ, I can not come at Christ ; 
I seek him in the means, but he forsakes me there, and I am left 
of God desolate ; and here, beloved, the soul had not formerly so 
many excuses for its sin, as now it hath clouds of objections 
against believing ; the Spirit therefore takes fast hold of the souls 
of all the elect, draws them unto Christ ; and therefore it is called 
"the spirit of faith," (2 Cor. iv. 13 ;) and that by an omnipotent 
and irresistible power. (Is. liii. 1,) "Who hath believed? 
and to whom is the arm of the Lord revealed ? " that the soul 
must and shall believe now. " Compel them to come in," saith 
the lord of the supper. (Luke xiv. 23.) This the Arminians 
will not beheve, for (say they) the question is not, whether we 
are enabled to believe by grace ; but, whether it be after this 
manner, and by this means, viz., modo irresistihiU. Consider, 
therefore, these reasons to clear this point : — 

1. Whence doth our call and coming to Christ arise, but from 
God's immovable and unchangeable purpose ? The Lord therefore 
must either alter his purpose, or prevail with the soul to believe, 
and overpower the heart thereunto. 

2. Is not Christ Jesus bound by office and promise to the 
Father to bring in all his lost, scattered sheep, that so the Father 
and he may be glorified in them? (John xx. 16,) " Other sheep 
I have ; those I must bring home, and they shall hear my voice.' 
You that complain you can not believe, nay, that you have no 
heart to believe, the Lord must fetch you in ; and you shall hear 
the bridegroom's voice with joy. 

3. Is not the act of believing wrought by a creating power ? 
(Eph. i. 9; ii. 10. Is. Ivii. 18, 19,) "I create the fruit of the 
lips peace, peace to him that is near and afar off." And is not 
a creating voice irresistible, though there be nothing for it to 


work upon ? So, though you have no ability, heart, head, or 
strength to believe, yet the Lord will create the fruit of the lips 
of God's messengers peace, peace. 

4. Doth not the Lord let in that infinite and surpassing sweet- 
ness of grace, when he works the soul to believe, standing in ex- 
treme need of that grace, that it can not but come and cleave to it ? 
(Ps. Ixiii. 2, 3,) " I long to see thee," saith David, '" for thy loving 
kindness is better than life." It is impossible for a man to cleave to 
his life ; much more to that which is better than life. The light 
is so clear, it can not but see and wonder at grace ; the good is so 
sweet, it can not but taste and accept what God so freely offers ; 
and therefore the poor Canaanitish woman (Matt, xv.) could not 
be driven away, though Christ bid her in a manner begone ; but 
she made all the objections against her arguments for her, (as 
usually faith doth, when under this stroke of the Spirit :) " The 
violent take the kingdom of heaven by force ; " the Spirit puts a 
necessity upon them, and irresistibly overpowers them, and this 
is the cause of it. 

And is not this matter of great consolation to all those who 
feel themselves utterly unable to believe ? You think the Lord 
would give peace and pardon, life and mercy, if I could believe. 
O, consider the Lord hath overtaken in the covenant of grace to 
work in all his the condition of the covenant, as well as to con- 
vey thee good of it. (Jer. xxxi. 31-34.) He hath done this for 
others by an irresistible power. (Heb. xii. 1, 2.) Look up to 
Jesus, the Author and Finisher of your faith ; he came out of his 
Father's bosom, not only to give life by his death, but to enable 
his to eat and close with him by faith, that they might never die. 
(John vi. 50.) So the Lord may work it in thee ; it is true, also, 
he may not ; yet it is unspeakable comfort to consider, that if the 
Lord had put it over unto thee to believe, it is certain thou 
shouldest never have believed ; but now the work is put into the 
hand of Christ ; that which is impossible to thee is possible, nay, 
easy, with him ; he can comprehend thee when thou canst not 
apprehend him. This is exceeding sweet when thy body is sick, 
and soul is deserted, incredible things to be believed are pro- 
pounded, an impossible work to thy weakness urged, upon pain 
of God's sorest and most unspeakable wrath ; to consider it is not 
in me, but in the Lord's own hand ; and it is his office, his glory 
to work faith, and, as the apostle speaks, to show mercy unto 
them that are shut up, not only under sin, but also unbelief. (Rom. 
xi. 32.) But why hath the Lord made thee feel thy inability to 
believe "^ Truly, the end of our wants is not to make us sin and 
shift for ourselves, but to ask and seek for supply ; and the end 


of the continuance of those wants is, that we should continue to 
ask and seek. And dost thou think thou shalt seek to the Lord 
by his own hand to create ftiith, and fetch thee in, and will not the 
Lord take his time to work it ? He that believes, saith the 
apostle, (Rom. x. 11,) shall not be ashamed. Why so? Because 
the Lord, saith he, who is over all, is rich unto all that call upon 
him. (Ver. 12.) If thou hast not a heart shut up from ask- 
ing of it, the Lord, who hath power, hath not a heart shut up 
toward thee from working it. 

But withal be thankful exceedingly, all you whose hearts the 
Lord hath drawn and overcome. He came to his own people the 
Jews, and would oft have gathered them, but they would not ; and 
therefore he forsook them, and left their habitations desolate. 
O, how oft would the Lord have gathered you, and you would 
not ! Yet the Lord hath not forsaken you, but called you in, 
whether you would or no ; the Lord hath taken many a man at 
his first word, and left him at the first repulse, shaken off the 
dust of his feet against him presently, (Matt. x. 14,) without any 
more entreaties to accept of mercy. Yet thou hast not only re- 
fused, but even crucified the Son of God ; yet he hath not been 
driven from thee, but his bowels have been oft kindled together, 
when he hath been ready to give thee up ; when thou hast been 
under the hedges, and in the highways that lead to death, and 
didst never think of him, nor didst desire him, yet he hath com- 
pelled thee to come in ; he hath made thee feel such an extreme 
need of him, and made himself so exceeding sweet, that thou 
hast not been able to resist his love, but to cry out, Lord, thou 
hast overcome me with mercy, I am not able to resist any more ; 
nay, which is more wonderful, when thou hast been gathered, 
and gone from him, and lost thyself and him also again, and it 
may be hast been offended at him, yet he hath gone before thee 
into Galilee, and gathered thee up when thou hast been as water 
spilt upon the ground : what should be the cause of this, but 
only this ? the work of faith lies upon him, both to begin and 
finish ; he must gather in all his lost sheep, and therefore he hath 
put forth an irresistible power of his Spirit upon thy heart, which 
must carry thee captive after him. 

I am afraid my faith hath been rather presumption, a work of 
my own power, than faith wrought by the Spirit's power : how 
may I discern that ? 

If you are wrapped up in God's covenant, if any promise be 
actually yours, it is no presumption to take possession by faith 
of what is your owti. Dost thou seriously will Christ, and re- 
solve never to give the Lord rest until he give thee rest in him ? 


Then see Rev. xxii. 17, "Whosoever will, let him take of the 
water of life." Dost thou thirst after Christ? Then read 
Is. Iv. 1-3. John vii. 37, " If any man thirst, let him come unto 
me and drink." When Christ "saw their faith," (Matt.ix. 1, 2,) 
what said he ? " Son, be of good cheer ; thy sins be forgiven : " 
the word signifies, be confident. It is no presumption to believe 
pardon of sins now thou art come unto me, not only for the heal- 
ing of thy body, l>ut especially for pardon of sin. It is the great 
sin of many saints, when they do thirst, and believe, and come 
to Christ, and so are under the promise of grace ; yet they think 
it presumption now to believe and take possession of all those 
treasures that be in Christ, but look that the Lord should first 
make them feel, and then they will believe ; whereas faith 
should now receive and drink in abundantly of the fullness of 
Christ. Shall it be accounted presumption for any man to eat his 
own bread, and drink his own drink, and put on his own clothes ? 
The promise makes Christ and all his benefits your own ; there- 
fore it is no presumption to apply them. 

Suppose you can not find yourself within any promise, and you 
see no reason to believe, only you have the Lord's call and com- 
mand to believe ; do you now, in conscience and obedience to this 
command, or to God's invitation and entreaty in the gospel, 
believe, because thou darest not dishonor God by refusing his 
grace ? thou dost therefore accept of it ; this is no presumption, 
unless obedience be presumption. Nay, the most acceptable 
obedience, which is the " obedience of faith," (John vi. 38 ;) 
for what was the ground on which those three thousand be- 
lieved ? (Acts ii. 38, 39, etc.) Peter said, " Repent, that you 
may receive remission of sins : " now, what follows ? " They 
that gladly received the word were baptized." O, that word 
" repent " — i. e., as Beza expounds it, " return to God and come 
in " — was a most sweet word to them, and therefore they received 
it ; this was no presumption, either, for Peter to exhort them to 
repent, or for them to take the Lord (as that godly man said) 
at his first word. I know there is a subjection to the gospel, 
arising only from slavish fear and carnal hopes, (Ps. Ixvi. 3, 
xviii. 44 :) this may be in presumptuous reprobates ; but there is 
a subjection arising from the sense of the sweetness and ex- 
ceeding goodness of God's call and promise. (Ps. ex. 2, 3.) As 
a woman that is overcome with the words of her loving suitor ; 
the man is precious, and hence his words are very sweet, and 
overcome her heart to think. Why should such a one as I 
be looked upon, by one of such a place ? It is no presumption 
now, but duty to give her consent ; so it is here, when the Lord 
17* ■ . 


is precious and his words. (O, accept me, O, come to me) are ex- 
ceeding sweet ; and hereupon, out of obedience, gladly yields up 
itself to the Lord, takes possession of the Lord, this is no more 
presumption than to sanctify a Sabbath, or to pr^iy, or 
hear the word, because the Lord's commands are herein very 

If repentance accompanies faith, it is no presumption to believe. 
Many know the sin, and hence Jbelieve in Christ, trust to Christ, 
and there is an end of their faith ; but what confession and sorrow 
for sin, what more love to Christ, follows this faith ? Truly none. 
Nay, their faith is the cause why they have none ; for they think, 
If I trust to Christ to forgive them, he will do it, and there is an 
end of the business. Verily, this hedge faith, this bramble faith, 
that catches hold on Christ, and pricks and scratches Christ by- 
more impenitency, more contempt of him, is mere presumption, 
which shall one day be burnt up and destroyed by the lire of 
God's jealousy. Fie upon that faith that serves only to keep 
a man from being tormented before his time. Your sins would 
be your sorrows, but that your faith quiets you. But if faith be 
accompanied with repentance, mourning for sin, more esteem of 
God's grace in Christ, so that nothing breaks thy heart more 
than the thoughts of Christ's unchangeable love to one so vile, 
and this love makes thee love much, and love him the more ; 
as thy sin increaseth, so thou desirest that thy love may increase ; 
and now the stream of thy thoughts runs, how thou mayest live 
to Him that died for thee. This was Mary's faith, who sat at 
Christ's feet weeping, washing them with her tears, and " loving 
him much, because much was forgiven ; " who, though she was 
accounted a presumptuous woman by Simon, (and Christ him- 
self suffered in his thoughts for suffering of her to come so near 
unto him,) yet the Lord himself clears her therein, and justifies 
her before God and men. Many a poor believer thinks. If I 
should believe, I should but presume, and spin a spider's web 
of faith out of my own bowels ; and hence you shall observe, 
this not believing stops up the work of repentance, mourning, 
and love, and all cheerful obedience in them ; and, on the 
contrary, if they did believe, it would be with them as them- 
selves think many times. If I knew the Lord was mine, and my 
sins pardoned, O, how should I then bless him, and love him, 
and wonder at him ! how would this break my heart before 
him ! etc. Now, I say, let all the world judge, if that which thou 
thinkest would be presumption be not rebellion, because it makes 
thee worse, and stops up the Spirit of grace in thee. Whereas 
that faith which lets out those blessed springs of sorrow, love, 


thankfulness, humbleness, etc., what can it be else but such a 
saving faith as is wrought by the Spirit, because it lets in the 
Spirit more abundantly into a dry and desolate heart? 

2. The subject or matter of faith. 

This is the second thing in the description of faith ; the soul 
of a humbled sinner is the subject or matter of faith. I do 
not mean the matter out of which faith is wrought, (for there is 
nothing in man out of which the Spirit begets it,) but that 
wherein faith is seated. I mean also the habit of faith, not the 
principle of it ; for that is out of man in the Lord Jesus, who is 
therefore called " our hope," as well as " our strength ; " the 
soul, therefore, is the subject of faith, called " the heart ; " (Rom. 
X. 9, compared with Matt. vi. 21 ;) for»we can not go or come to 
Christ in this life with our bodies ; we are " here absent from the 
Lord," (2 Cor. v. ;) but the soul can go to him, the heart can 
be with him ; as the eye can see a thousand miles off, and re- 
ceive the species or image of the things it sees into it, so the soul, 
enlightened by faith, can see Christ afar off; it can long for, 
choose, and rest upon the Lord of life, and receive the lively 
image of Christ's glory in it. (2 Cor. iii.) 

If Christ were present upon earth, the soul (not the body) 
only could truly receive him. Christ comes to his elect only by 
his Spirit, and hence our spirits only are fit to receive him and 
close with him. Thousands hear Christ outwardly, that in- 
w^ardlyare deaf to all God's calls ; their spirits see not, taste not, 
feel not ; it is, therefore, the soul that is the subject of faith ; and 
I say it is a humble, empty soul which is the subject, for a full, 
proud, broken spirit can not, nay, will not, receive Christ, as we 
have proved ; and therefore (Luke xiv.) the servant is com- 
manded to bid the " poor, halt, and blind, and lame to come in ; " 
they would not make excuses as others did ; they that were 
stung to death with fiery serpents were the only men that the 
brazen serpent was lifted up for them to look upon, and to be 
healed, (John iii. 14;) and therefore the promise doth not run, 
" If any man have wisdom, let him ask it ; " but, " If any man 
want wisdom," (Lam. i. 5 ;) so, if any man want light, life, want 
peace, pardon, want Christ and his Spirit, let them ask, and the 
Lord will give. Away with your money, if you come to these 
waters to buy, and take freely. " If any man would be wise, let 
him be a fool," (saith the blessed apostle,) an empty nothing. 
A soul, in a perishing, helpless, hopeless condition, is the subject 
of faith ; such only feel their need of Christy are glad at the 
offer of Christ, and therefore such only can and will receive 
Cljrist, and come unto Christ by faith ; and truly, if we had 


but hearts, the consideration of this might be ground of great com- 
fort and confidence unto all God's people whose souls come unto 
Jesus Christ, for that which was in Thomas (John xxi.) is in all 
men naturally, — if we could see Christ with our eyes, and feel 
him with our hands, and embrace him (as Mary did) with our 
arms, if we could hear himself speak, we could then believe ; as 
they said, " If he will come from the cross," so Ave say, If he 
will come down from heaven thus unto us, we will then believe ; 
if we want this, we fear we may be at last deceived, because we 
want sense, and can not come to close with our eyes and hands 
the objects of our faith. But O, consider this point : we are 
made partakers of Christ's life and salvation by him only, yet 
certainly by faith. Now, this faith is not by seeing him with our 
eyes, coming near to him with our bodies, but coming to him 
with our souls ; the soul is the seat of faith. Now, this you may 
do, though you never thus saw him, " whom though you see not, 
yet believing you rejoice." This coming of the soul to Christ 
doth make a firmer union between thee and Christ than if thou 
wert bodily present with him in heaven ; for many touched and 
crowded him that never w^ere truly united to him, or received 
virtue from him. If our souls were in the third heaven with 
Christ, who of us would then doubt of our portion in him ? I tell 
you, if our souls go out of sin and self unto Christ Jesus, and 
there rest, this makes you nearer to him than if your souls were 
under his wing in the highest heavens. The poor seaman, when 
he is near dangerous shores, when he can not go down to the 
depth of the sea to fasten his ship, yet if he can cast his anchor 
twenty or forty fathom deep, and if that holds, this quiets him 
in the sorest storms. When we are tossed and can not come to 
Christ with our bodily presence, yet if our souls can come, if 
our faith, our anchor, can reach him, and knit us to him, this 
should exceedingly comfort our hearts. 

How and where should my soul come to Christ, who is now 
absent from me ? 

Christ comes to you in his word and covenant of grace ; there 
is his Spirit, his truth, goodness, love, faithfulness ; receive this, 
you receive him ; embrace this, you embrace him. As among 
ourselves, you see great estates are conveyed and surrendered 
by bonds and writings. (Acts ii. 41,) When they received the 
word they received Christ. (John xv. 7,) " If my words abide 
in you," i. e., if I abide in you by my words, you shall be fruitfuh 

By the word let thine eye pitch upon the person. Do not 
only account the promise true, but, with Sarah, account him 
faithful who hath promised : and then let thy heart roll itself 



upon that grace and faithfulness revealed in this word, lean upon 
the breast of this beloved ; and thus the soul, by the chariot 
wheels and wings of the word, is professor of Christ in it, and 
carried up to Christ's cross, as dying, (Gal. iii. 1,) and from 
thence to his glory in his kingdom by it. (Heb. x. 19-21.) As 
a man that gives a great estate, by some writing, to us, we 
believe it as if he were present ; and by this we do not only believe 
the writing to be true, but the man to be faithful and loving to 
us ; and hereupon our hearts are carried after the man himself, 
though afar off from us. Thus we ascend to Christ in the cloud 
of faith ; as Jacob, though he could hardly believe, yet as soon 
as he was persuaded Joseph was yet alive, his spirit presently 
revived, and it was immediately with him, before his body came 
to him. So it is with faith : the soul goes unto Christ before our 
bodies and souls, both together, shall have immediate communion 
with him. 

3. The form of faith. 

This is the third thing in the description of faith : the coming 
of the whole soul out of itself unto Christ is the form of faith, 
and that wherein the life and essence of it consists, and which 
doth difference, is from all other graces of the Spirit. The first 
act of faith, as it unites us to Christ, is not assurance that he is __ 
mine, but a coming to him with assurance, and hereby he is be- 
come mine. " Come unto the waters," and " so buy wine and milk ; " 
i. e., now make them your own. The " weary and heavy laden " 
shall not have rest unless they come to Christ for it. Faith doth 
nothing for life, — for that is the law of works, — it only receives 
him who hath done all for it, it comes out of all it hath or doth 
— like Abraham, that left his servants behind him when he went 
up to God in the mount — unto Christ for life. Conceive it 
thus. Adam had a principle and stock of life in himself, in his own 
hand, and therefore was to live by this, to live of himself and from 
himself, and therefore had no need nor use of faith. He lived 
by the law of works, which the apostle sets in a direct opposi- 
tion to the law of faith ; but Adam, being now fallen, hath lost 
his life, and become, not Hke the man that fell among thieves, 
betwixt Jerusalem and Jericho, stripped, wounded, and half 
dead, but wholly dead. (Eph. ii. 1.) So that, let any man seek 
life from himself, it is impossible he should live ; for, if there had 
been a law that could have given life, our righteousness should 
have been thereby. (Gal. iii. 21.) Hence it follows, if any 
man will have life, he must go out of himself to another, viz., 
the Lord of life, for it. (John v. 40 ; vi. 27-29.) 

Now, observe it, this very coming, this very motion of the soul 


to Christ — a grace which Adam neither had, nor had power 
to use — is faith ; the Spirit of Christ moving or drawing the 
soul, the soul is thence moved, and comes to Christ. (John vi. 
64, 65.) The soul, by sin, is averted from God, and turns his 
back upon God ; the turning or coming of the soul (not unto 
duties of holiness, for that is obedience properly, but) unto God, 
in Christ again, is properly and formally faith. All evil is in 
man's self, and from himself; all man's good is in Christ and 
from Christ. The souls of all God's elect, seeing these things, 
forsake and renounce themselves, in whom and from whom is all 
their evil, and come unto Christ, in whom and from whom is all 
their good. This motion of the soul between these extremes, 
throughout that vast and infinite distance that is between a sinful, 
wretched man and a blessed Saviour, is faith ; for by faith, prin- 
cipally, we " pass from death to life." (John v. 24.) The soul of 
a poor sinner, wounded and humbled, sometimes knows not 
Christ, and then cries out, as those. Acts ii. 37, What shall I 
do ? Whither shall I go ? sometimes dares not, sometimes 
can not ; it hath no heart to stir or come ; it therefore looks up, 
and longs, and goes unto the Lord to draw it, like poor Ephraim. 
(Jer. xxxi. 18.) " O, turn me, Lord, and then I shall be turned," 
(Lam. V. 21;) and this is the lowest and least degree of faith. 
But at some other time, the soul mourning for wnnt of the Lor(J, 
the Lord comes unto it with great clearness, glory, and sweetness 
of grace and peace ; and hence the soul can not but come and 
close with him, and cry, Rabboni, and say, O Lord, it is thy good 
pleasure to have respect to such a clod of earth, to tender such 
riches of grace to one so unworthy, and to bid, nay, to beseech 
me to come and take. Lord, behold, I come. This is faith. 
Would you have a proof of it ? Consider, therefore, these particu- 
lars ; 1. Consider these Scriptures : (John vi. 35,) " I am the 
bread of life ; he that cometh to me shall never hunger, and he 
that believeth in me shall never thirst ; " where you see com- 
ing to Christ and believing in Christ all are one. So, (John vii. 
37,) " In the last day of the feast, the Lord Christ cries out with 
much vehemency, If any man thirst, let him come unto me and 
drink." Now, in the next verse, (38,) our Saviour expounds this 
coming; for saith he, " He that believeth on me, out of his 
belly," etc. 

So to come to Christ, as upon this to drink in of Christ's full- 
ness, is believing in Christ. So (Heb. xi. 6) the apostle saith, 
" Without faith it is impossible to please God ; " and then, in 
rendering the reason of this, explains what he meant by faith, viz., 
to be our coming unto God upon a double testimony, believing 


first that he is, secondly, that he is a rewarcler of them that seek 
him diligently, or (which is all one) who do come unto him. So, 
(John i. 12,) "' So many as received him," (which is all one 
with coming,) ''he adopted them as sons, even to them that believe 
in his name." And hence we shall observe, that the Scripture 
doth not attribute our righteousness and life to our believing of 
Christ, but to our believing on Christ, in Christ, (a phrase pecu- 
liar to heavenly language, and therefore not found in any human 
writer,) because it is not the bare believing of a testimony that 
saveth us, unless we so believe it as to believe in Christ, which 
can not be but by coming to him, and as it were in him, or into 
him, our union with Christ being made complete hereby. 

2. That upon which the Lord promiseth life, and salvation, and 
mercy, can not be works, but faith, (Gal. iii. 21 ; Heb. xi. 6 ;) but 
throughout all the Old and New Testament, the Lord promiseth 
life and salvation to comers, or to them that return. (Jer. iii. 12. 
Ex. xxxiii. 10. Joel ii. 12, 13. Heb. vii. 25. John v. 40.) ■ 

3. If unbelief be nothing else but a departing from God, faith 
can be nothing else but a coming unto God ; but that is the 
nature of unbelief. (Heb. iii. 12 ; x. 38. John vi. 64—69 ; 
xii. 37-40.) The Lord's great plot is to gather all his 
elect under the wings of Christ, (Matt, xxiii. 37 ; Eph. 
i. 9, 10,) and therefore calls them to come under them, by the 
voice of the gospel. The coming under them, therefore, can be 
nothing else but faith, the proper obedience to the gospel, as 
works are under the voice of the law. Thus faith is the coming 
of the soul to Christ. But you will say, Did not many come to 
Christ that were never saved by him ? 

Yes, many came to him with their bodily presence, that were 
excluded from him. (John vi. 36.) 

But you will say. Do not many men's souls come, are not many 
men's hearts moving, toward Christ, and yet excluded from 
Christ ? Do not many cry. Lord, Lord ? are not many enlight- 
ened, and taste of this heavenly gift, and yet fall away ? I con- 
fess it is very true ; and therefore it is set down in this descrip- 
tion of faith, that it is the coming of the whole soul unto Christ. 
Never did any yet come to Christ, and receive him with their 
whole souls, with all their hearts, but they had fruition of him, 
and blessedness by him. Faith, therefore, is not the coming of 
the soul, but the coming of the whole soul unto Jesus Christ, and 
this you may be established in upon these grounds. 

1. The Scripture expressly calls for this: (Prov. iii. 5,) 
"Trust in the Lord with all thy heart." (Acts viii. 37,) "If 
thou believestwith thy heart, thou shalt be saved." (Joel ii. 13,) 


"Turn unto the Lord with all your hearts." (Jer. xxix. 13,) 
" You shall find the Lord when you seek him with your whole 
hearts." As when we have a great gift to bestow, and we ask a 
poor man to whom we intend to give it, whether he will accept 
of it or no : Yes, saith he, with all my heart : so it is here ; the 
Lord asks those he intends to bestow his Son upon, and saith to 
them. You have lived thus long without him, and thus long 
abused him; will you now have him and accept of him? Yes, 
Lord, with all my heart. This is all the Lord requires. Doth 
the Lord require no more of me but to come ? Lord, this voice 
is most sweet ; I come with all my heart, I come. 

2. Because Christ is worthy of the whole heart ; all must be 
sold away to buy this field, this treasure. (Matt. xiii. 44,) " He 
that loveth father or mother more than me is not worthy of me." 
A filthy lust, a base harlot hath had thy whole heart, and dost 
thou think the Lord Christ will have it divided ? is not one heart 
too little for him ? are not ten thousand souls too few to embrace 
him, or cleave to him ? 3. Because without this your coming 
to him is but feigned. (Jer. iii. 10,) " They return to me, not 
with their whole heart, but feignedly." To cleave to Christ and 
a lust, to Christ and a proud heart, can not be unfeigned faith ; 
to go to your lusts in time of peace, and fly to Christ in times of 
extremity, is damnable hypocrisy. When conscience troubles 
you, you then go to Christ to ease you ; and when your unruly 
wills and lusts trouble you, you go to the world to ease you ; and 
so your hearts are divided, and you come not wholly and only 
unto Christ for rest. Believe it, it is such a faith by which you 
may, as Samuel did on Saul's garment, take hold of him, but the 
Lord will never take hold of you. Set a branch in the stock, if 
it stays loosely in it, it will wither in time ; and this is the great 
cause of withering Christians, and of so many apostates in these 
evil times. Those that came to Christ, (John vi.,) and followed 
him for a time, but afterward fell away, (ver. G6,) what was the 
reason of their fall ? viz., when they were ofi^ended at Christ, they 
knew whether to go from Christ ; but what saith Peter ? " Lord, 
Avhither should we go ? " (ver. 68.) If you lay the pipes that are 
to convey water from a full fountain, but one foot or one inch 
short of it, there can not be any water derived from thence. O 
beloved, what is the reason that many a man's faith doth him no 
good, derives no life, spirit, blood, efficacy, peace, power, from 
the Lord Jesus ? Is it because Christ is a dry Christ, and un- 
willing to communicate ? No, no ; the wound is in their faith ; 
that pipe is laid but half way to him, they fall one foot short of 
him, their souls come, but their whole souls do not come to him, 


and hence they never reach Christ ; they he not in Chiist, and 
therefore receive not from Christ ; Christ is j^recious, (here their 
souls come,) but not exceeding precious ; preciousness itself, as 
the word is, (1 Pet. ii. 7,) (here the whole soul doth not come ;) 
they cleave to Christ and rest upon Christ, (here their souls 
come,) but they cleave not to Christ only, (thus their whole souls 
do not come.) 4. If the whole soul by unbelief departs from 
God, then the whole soul must return and come again unto God. 

5. If the want of this be the great cause why men are rejected 
of God, then the whole soul must return to him ; but this is the 
cause why all men under the means are rejected of God. " Is- 
rael would none of me," i. e., would not be content alone with 
me, would not " take quiet contentment in me," (as the Hebrew 
word signifies ;) the Lord was not good enough for them ; but 
their hearts went out from him to other things, and therefore 
"the Lord gave them up to their own hearts' lust, and they 
walked in their own counsels." The woman that forsakes the 
guide of her youth, and sets her heart as much upon other 
men as her husband, is an adulteress, for which only she 
shall have a bill of divorce. 

6. Because, as the gospel first reveals Chi-ist to the mind, 
and then offers him to the will, so faith, which runs parallel 
with the gospel, first sees Christ, (there the mind, one part of 
the soul, goes out,) then receives Christ gladly, (there the other 
part, the will, goes out,) and so the whole soul comes to Christ. 
The gospel comes to all the elect, first in great clearness and 
evidence of the truth of it, (1 Thess. i. 5,) to which the under- 
standing assents, and is persuaded of; secondly, in great grace 
and goodness, surpassing beauty and sweetness, (Lam. iii. 24,) 
with which the will is drawn, and so the whole soul comes 
unto Christ ; for the gospel is not only true, but glad tidings 
to all the elect, especially when humbled at God's feet, (1 Tim. 
i. 15,) "in whom," saith the apostle, (Eph. i. 12, 13,) "you 
believed after that ye heard the word of truth," (there is the 
object of the understanding,) " the gospel of your salvation," 
(there is the goodness of it, the object of the will,) so that 
the whole soul is drawn to Christ in the work of faith. He 
that understands how liberum arbitrium may be in two faculties, 
must not wonder if one grace be seated in both faculties of un- 
derstanding and will ; no grace can be completely seated in divers 
faculties, but gradually and imperfectly it may : the work of 
faith is not complete, when the understanding is opened only 
to see and wonder at the mystery of mercy in the gospel ; 
but when the will adheres and clasps about that infinite and 

VOL. 1. 18 


surpassing good it sees, then it is perfected, and not before. 
(John vi. 40.) And this is the reason Avhy saving faith (as 
it is called) doth not look only to a bare testimony and assent 
unto it, as human faith doth ; because, in the gospel, not only 
divine truth is propounded to the mind to assent unto, but an 
infinite and eternal good is offered to the heart and will of 
man to embrace, and thence it is that it is not sufficient for 
a Christian to believe God or to believe Christ, but he must 
also believe in him, or else he can not be saved ; the object of 
believing of him being verum, or truth ; the object of the second, 
ho7ium, or good : take heed, therefore, a poor, lost sinner, un- 
done in its own eyes forever ; not knowing what to do, unless 
it be to lie down, and lie still at God's feet, as worthy of noth- 
ing but hell. What doth the Lord now do ? the Lord Christ, 
by his gospel, first lets in a new light, and it sees the Lord 
Jesus there bleeding before its eyes, and held forth as a pro- 
pitiation to all that believe, to all that come to him ; the mind 
sees this mystery, this exceeding rich grace and free mercy, 
and thinks, Happy are they that share in this mercy ? but will 
the Lord look upon such a nothing as I? can such infinite 
treasures be my portion ? The Lord, therefore, calls, and bids 
hini come away and enter into the possession of it. Thy sins, 
indeed, are great, saith the Lord ; yet remember bloodthirsty 
Manasseh, persecuting Paul, were pardoned. Nay, remember 
my grace is free, for whose sake I invite thee. I beseech 
thee to come in ; thy wants indeed are many ; yet remember 
that thou hast, therefore, the more need and more cause to 
come, and that it is I that have made thee empty and poor 
on purpose, that thou mightest come : it is true, I have an 
eternal purpose to exclude many thousands from mercy, yet 
my purpose is unchangeable, never to cast off any that do 
come for it ; I never did it yet, I will not do it unto thee, 
if thou dost come ; it is true, many may presume, yet it is 
no presumption, but duty, to obey my great command ; and it 
is the greatest sin that ever thou didst or canst commit, 
now to reject it, and refuse this grace : come, therefore, poor, 
weary, lost, undone creature. Hereupon the heart and will 
come, and rest, and roll themselves upon these bowels, and 
there rest ; thus the whole soul comes, and this, I say again, is 
faith. Just as it is with the loadstone drawing the iron ; who 
w^ould think that iron should be drawn by it ? but there is a 
secret virtue coming from the stone which draws it, and so it 
comes and is united to it ; so who would think that ever such an 
iron, heavy, earthy heart should be drawn unto Christ ? yet the 


Lord lets out a secret virtue of truth and sweetness from himself, 
which draws the soul to Christ, and so it comes. 

May not the consideration of this be of great consolation to 
those that want assurance, and therefore think they have no 
faith ? O, remember that if thou comest unto Christ, as that 
poor woman of Canaan, — she had no assurance she should be 
helped of Christ ; nay, Christ tells her to her teeth, that he 
would not cast children's bread to such dogs ; yet she came to 
him, and looked up to free mercy, and clasped about him, and 
would not away. You will say. Was this faith ? yes, our Sa- 
viour himself professeth it before men and angels, " O, great is 
thy foith." (Matt. XV. 28.) 

So I say unto all you poor creatures whom the Lord hath 

humbled, and made vile in your own eyes, unworthy of children's 

bread as dogs ; yea, you look up unto and rest upon mercy with 

your whole heart ; this is precious faith in the account of Christ. 

But how shall I know when the whole soul comes to Christ ? 

When the eye of the soul so sees Christ, and the heart so 

embraceth and resteth upon Christ, as that it resteth in Christ, 

as in its portion and all-sufficient good : many rest upon Christ 

that do not rest in him ; that is, that are not abundantly satisfied 

with him ; and hence their souls go out of Christ to other things 

to perfect their rest, and so their hearts are divided between 

Christ and other things. O, "fear" this, saith the apostle, 

(Heb. iv. 1,) "lest, there being a promise left us of entering into 

his rest, any of you fall short of it ; " for (saith he) " we that 

have believed do enter into rest." (ver. 3.) So say I to you : of 

all delusions, fear this, lest, when you come to Christ, and rest 

upon Christ for life and salvation, that you rest not in Christ. 

" I tell you," saith Christ to those that came to him, and were 

constant followers of him, (John vi. 53,) " except you eat the 

flesh and drink the blood of the Son of God, you have no life in 

you." What is this eating and drinking? verily, sipping and 

tasting is not properly eating and drinking ; tasting your meat 

will not satisfy you, and therefore will not nourish life in you. 

To eat and drink Christ is to receive him, as to satiate and sat- 

I isfy the soul with him, to quench all your desires, your hungering 

i and thirsting in him, until thy soul saith, as he said in another 

I case, " It is enough that Joseph lives ; " so, Lord, I have enough 

[ now I have this love, this grace of Christ to be my portion ; now 

; you rest in Christ. For if there be some great good a man 

1 enjoys, if there be any good wanting in it, it is not possible that 

I his whole heart should be set upon it ; ex. yr., a man liath food, 

• but if he wants clothes, and his bread will not clothe him, his 


whole heart will not be set upon his food, but upon that which 
may clothe him also ; so, on the contrary, if there be an eminent 
good, wherein he finds all in one, no good out of it that is want- 
ing in it, it is certain that the whole soul is carried after this 
good ; so it is here, when the soul so comes to Christ, as that it 
comes for all good to him, and so finds all good in him, that he 
now only supports the sinking soul, verily the whole soul is now 
come, because, as it felt before it came all wants and evils out of 
him, so now it finds all fullness in him ; and whither should the 
whole soul be carried but after such a good ? when the Lord calls 
to the soul to come and take all with nothing, take all or nothing. 
And hereupon it comes and drinks, as it is John vii. 37, satisfy- 
ing itself there, and professing. Lord, I now desire no more ; I 
have enough. brethren, what faith there is among men at this 
day I can not tell, but this I am sure was Abraham's faith, (Gen. 
xvii. 1,) and David's faith, (2 Sam. xxiii. 5,) and Peter's faith, 
(John vi. 68,) and Paul's faith, (Phil. iii. 8, 9. Gal. vi. 14.) 
When the soul thus rests upon the rock Christ, the gates of hell 
may avail, but never prevail against such a one : he that hath 
set the whole world at his heels, and sold himself out of all for 
this pearl, and this abundantly recompenseth all his losses, such a 
one hath Christ his own, and shall never be deprived of him 
again ; the Lord never gives his elect any rest out of Christ, 
that they may find rest at last in Christ. When thus the soul 
is entered into rest, the whole soul is drawn here, and this is the 
great reason why many men famous in their generations and 
times in the eyes of others for faith, yet rotten at the heart, and 
thence turn apostates, one proves covetous, another ambitious, 
another voluptuous, another grows conceited, another grows con- 
tentious, another grows formal. What is the reason of this? 
Verily, they did rest upon Christ, but did never find rest in 
Christ, and therefore their whole soul never came to him ; Christ, 
after some time of profession, grew a dry and common Christ 
unto them, though at first they wondered at him, and he was 
very sweet unto them ; and hence they departed from him as 
from an empty, dry pit in summer time, where they found noth- 
ing to refresh them. But the Lord Jesus carries it toward all 
the faithful as Elkanah did toward Hannah ; though she was in 
a fit, much vexed and troubled for want of children, yet because 
he loved her exceeding dearly, he quiets her again with this : 
"Am not I better unto thee than ten sons ? " So, though they may 
be unquiet for some odd fits for want of many things, yet because 
Christ loves them, he brings them back unto their rest, saying. 
Am not I better than all friends, all creatures, all abilities, all 


spiritual created excellences ? and hereby they find rest to their 
souls in him again. 

But is there any behever's heart so knit unto Christ but that 
there is a heart also after other vanities ? Do they find such 
rest in him as that they find no disquietness ? Is there not an 
unregenerate part and much unbelief remaining ? Is any man's 
faith made perfect that the whole soul must come, or else there 
is no true faith ? 

It is true, there is an unregenerate and a regenerate part in a 
godly man, but not a heart and a heart, (the note of a wicked 
man in Scripture phrase.) There are disquietings in the hearts 
of saints, after that they be in Christ ; even Solomon himself 
may sometimes seek out of Christ for rest in his orchards and gar- 
dens, knowledge and wisdom ; yet there is a great difference 
between these that are in the saints, arising from the unregen- 
erate part, and those that be in the wicked, arising from a heart 
and a heart, or a double heart ; and this difference is chiefly seen 
in two things. 

A double-minded man, who hath a double heart, makes not a 
daily war against that heart which carries him away from rest- 
ing only in Christ ; for Christ quiets his conscience, and the 
world comforts his heart ; Christ gives him some rest ; and be- 
cause this is not full, his heart runs out to the creature and to 
his lusts for more ; and so between them both he hath rest, and 
he is quieted with this, because he feels what he sought for ; 
and therefore he must needs have Christ, else his conscience can 
not be quiet ; and he must needs have his lusts, his ease, and 
this world too, else his heart is most unquiet; but let him 
liave both, he is now quiet. (Micah iii. 11.) The priests teach 
for hire, (there the world quiets them,) yet they will lean upon 
the Lord too, because this also comforts them ; what do they 
do ? do they make war against this woful frame ? No, no, but 
bless themselves in it, saying, " No evil shall come to us." But 
a poor believer, whose heart is upright, it is true there are many 
runnings out of his heart after other vanities, and much unquiet- 
ness of spirit^ yet the regenerate part makes war against these, 
as God's enemies and the disturbers of the peace of Christ's 
kingdom. (Ps. xlii.) David professeth his tears were his meat 
day and night, (ver. 3,) and his heart was wofully sunk and 
fallen; yet what doth he ? First he chides himself: " Why art 
thou cast down, O my soul?" And then, secondly, he makes his 
moan to the Lord of it, (ver. 5, 6,) " Lord, my soul is cast down ; 
O Lord, pity me." You shall see, also, (Ps. Ixxiii. 2,) his eyes 
were dazzled with the glory of the world and the wicked in it, 


that he had almost forsaken God ; yet within a little while after 
he gets into the sanctuary of God, and then loathes himself for 
such brutish and foolish thoughts, and loseth with God again, 
saying, " Whom have I in heaven or earth but thee ? " (ver. 25.) 
All the outrunnings of the hearts of the faithful, and their dis- 
quietness of spirit thereby, make them to return to their rest 
again, and give them the more rest in the conclusion. David was a 
bird out of his nest for a time, and therefore when he considered 
how the Lord had saved his eyes from tears, his soul from hell, 
returns again, and saith, " Return to thy rest, O my soul." Ps. 
XXV. 13, it is said, " his soul shall dwell at ease," or (as the word 
signifies) " shall lodge in goodness ; " some hard work, full of 
trouble, some strong lust, or sad temptation, desertion, affliction, 
the Lord exerciseth the soul withal for some time ; and so long 
as the soul is in heaviness and much weariness of spirit, as it is 
1 Pet. i. 6, yet when this day's work is done, when the sin is sub- 
dued, and the temptation hath humbled him, then a believer's 
soul shall lodge in goodness; he shall have an easy bed and soft 
pillow to rest on at night. When have the faithful sweeter naps 
in Christ's bosom than after sorest troubles, longest ecHpses of 
God's pleased face ? when do their souls cleave closer to the 
Lord than when they are ready to forsake the Lord, and 
the Lord them ? Certainly fire is wholly carried upward, when 
that which suppresseth it makes it at last break out into greater 
flame. Peter falls from Clirist ; yet he is Peter, a stone cleaving 
most close unto Christ, above all other the apostles, because, 
his fall being greater, his faith clave the closer to the Lord 
Christ forever after it. Solomon's heart certainly never clave 
so unseparably unto the Lord as after his fall, wherein he did 
more experimentally find and feel the emptiness and vanity of 
those things wherein he did imagine before something was to be 
found ; but he that hath a double heart never enters into rest, 
but the longer he lives, the more common Christ, his truth, and 
promises grow ; they are but fading flowers, whose beauty and 
sweetness affect him for a time ; but they wither before the 
sunset. And, therefore, the longer he lives, the less favor he 
finds in these things, and therefore takes less contentment therein ; 
the Lord Jesus and all his ordinances grow more flat and dry 
things to him; and therefore, though at first he might rejoice 
(as John's hearers, John v. 35) in these burning and shining 
lights, yet it is but for a season ; at last he discovers himself — 
not by a renewed returning to his rest, but by a wearyish for- 
saking of it. 

The raven never returned to the ark again, because it could 


•live upon the floating carrion on the waters ; whereas the dove, 
finding no rest there, returns again. 

Fourthly, the end of faith. 

This is the fourth particular in the description of faith : The 
whole soul Cometh to Christ, for Christ and all his benefits ; and 
this is the end of faith, or of a believer's coming unto Christ. 
The end of faith is sometimes expressed by a general word, life, 
(John V. 40,) but you must remember that hereby is meant the 
Lord of life first, and so all the blessings of life. The falseness 
and hypocrisy of Christ's followers appeared in this, (John vi. 
26:) You seek me, saith Christ, for loaves; that was their end; 
as many a one in these days, if they be in outward misery, seek 
unto Christ for outward mercy ; corn in time of famine, health 
in time of sickness, peace upon any terms in time of war ; and 
if they be in any inward distress, now they seek to Christ for 
comfort and quiet ; and so, like many sick patients, desire the 
physician, not to have him married to them, but for some of his 
physic only, to be healed by him. But what saith our Saviour to 
these persons? (ver. 27,) "Labor not for the meat that per- 
isheth ; " what should be the end of their labor then ? he tells them, 
" but for that bread that endures to everlasting life." What is 
this bread ? (see the o3cl, 35th, and 48th verses :) he tells them, " I 
am the bread of life ; " seek for me therefore, come for me ; and 
look, as none can have life from the bread, unless he first feed 
upon the bread itself, so none can have any life or benefit 
from Christ that comes not first to Christ for Christ. Conceive 
of this thus : God in Christ is the complete object of faith un- 
der a double notion. First, as sufficient, in being all we want 
unto us ; secondly, as efficient, in communicating all to us, and 
doing all for us. Li the first respect, he is Elshaddai in his 
promise ; in the second respect, he is Jehovah, (Ex. vi. 3,) in 
making good his all-sufficient promise. Hence faith comes to 
him for a double end : first, that he would give himself and be all 
to it ; secondly, that he would communicate all his blessings and 
the benefits also, and so do all for it. For in the covenant of 
grace, the Lord doth not only promise a new heart, pardon of 
sin, with the rest of those spiritual benefits, but also himself: 
" I will be their God, and they shall be my people." Hence faith 
comes first for that which the Lord principally promiseth, viz., God 
himself, and then for all the rest of those heavenly and glorious 
benefits ; and hence it is, if any man come for Christ himself, 
without his benefits, and regard not the conveyance of them, as 
the Familists at this day do, who abolish all inherent graces, 
and some of them all ordinances, because Christ is all to them ; 


or if any come for the benefits of Christ without Christ himself, 
as many among ourselves do, who never account themselves 
happy in him, but only by some abilities they receive from him ; 
neither of these come with a single eye, nor fix a right end 
in their closing with Christ : you must first come for Christ him- 
self, and so for all his benefits. 

For establishing your hearts in which truth, consider these 
things : — 

1. Consider what drives any man to Christ. Is not sense of 
wants no main thing ? Now, what are a Christian's wants, when 
the Lord hath humbled him ? Are they not, first, want of Christ ; 
and secondly, of all the benefits of Christ ? viz., righteousness, 
peace, i)ardon, grace, glory. (John xvi. 9.) If, therefore, the 
souls of all the elect feel a want of both, doth not faith come to 
Christ for both ? (John iv. 10,) " If thou knewest the gift of God," 
(i. e., the worth of him, and thy want of him,) " thou wouldest ask, 
and he would give thee water of life." 

2. What doth the Lord oifer in the gospel ? Is it not first 
Christ himself, and then all the benefits of Christ ? (Is. ix. 
6, 7,) " To us a Son is born, to us a Son is given ;" in the re- 
ceiving therefore of Christ by faith, what should the soul aim at, 
but that it may have the Son himself, and so all his benefits with 
him ? 

3. Can any man have eternal life that not only hath not the 
benefits flowing from the Son, but that wants the Son himself? 
I am sure the apostle expressly affirms it ; (1 John v. 12,) " He 
that hath the Son hath life, he that hath not the Son hath not 
life:" faith therefore must come for Christ himself: as in mar- 
riage the woman consents first to have the man, and so to have 
all other benefits that will necessarily follow upon this. 

4. The happiness of all the saints consists in two things : first, 
union to Christ; secondly, communion with Christ. Faith, 
therefore, pitcheth first upon Christ himself, that it may have sure 
and certain union to him, (for our union is not unto any of the ben- 
efits flowing to us from Christ ; we are not united unto forgiveness 
of sins, nor peace of conscience, nor holinesss, etc., but unto 
the person of the Son of God himself;) and then, secondly, com- 
eth for the communication of all the benefits arising only from 
union ; as Paul (Phil. iii. 9, 10) esteems " things dung and loss," 
first, " to be found in him, that so he might have his righteousness " 
in justification, " and feel the power of his death and resurrec- 
tion " in sanctification, etc. In one word, faith first buys the pearl 
itself, and then seeks to be enriched by it ; it finds the treasure 
of grace, glory, peace, mercy, favor, reconciliation, in Christ; 


but then buys the field itself, that it may have the treasure also. 
(Matt. xiii. 44.) The Lord Christ's great desire is, that "all his 
might be with him to see his glory," (John xxiv. 14 ;) and faith 
desires first to have him and be forever with him, and so to par- 
take of that glory : the Lord's great plot is, first to perfect the 
saints in Christ ; (Col. ii. 10,) " ye are complete in him ; " then 
to make them like to Christ by communicating life, grace, peace, 
glory from him. (Col. iii. 3, 4. 1 John iii. 1, 2.) Faith, therefore, 
first quiets itself in him, then seeks for life from him ; it comes 
first for Christ, and then for all the benefits of Christ. 

O that this truth were well considered ! How would it dis- 
cover abundance of rotten, counterfeit faith in the world ; some 
seeking for peace and comfort, and catching at promises without 
seeking first to have the person of Christ himself, " in whom only 
all the promises are yea and amen." Others despising the bene- 
fits of Christ, especially grace, holiness, and life from him ; be- 
cause, say they, Christ is all in all to them. Ask them. Have you 
any grace, change of heart, etc. ? Tush ! what do you tell them of 
repentance, and faith, and holiness ? They have Christ, and 
that is sufficient ; they have the substance, what should they do 
now with shadows of ordinances, ministries, or sacraments ? 
They have all graces in Christ ; why should they look either for 
being of, or evidence from, any grace inherent in themselves ? 
They have a living holy head, but Christ's body, they say, is a 
dry skeleton, a dead carcass, and they are but dry bones ; and is 
it so indeed? Then look that God should shortly bury thee out 
of his sight ; assuredly, you that want and despise the benefits 
coming from him, shall never have part nor portion in him at the 
great day of account. Christ is a Saviour to save men from 
their sins, not to save men and their sins ; Christ is king and 
priest of his church, " holy and separated from sins," (Heb. vii. 26 ;) 
and if you have any part or portion in him, he hath made you 
kings and priests also to God and his Father, and hath not left you 
in your pollution, but washed you from it in his own blood. (Rev. 
i. 5, 6.) The law of God is written on the heart of Christ, 
(Ps. xl. 8, with Heb. x. 5-7 ;) and if ever he wraps you up in 
the covenant of grace, he will write his law in your hearts 
also. (Heb. viii. 10.) 

Let all deluded Familists tremble at this, that, in advancing 
Christ himself, and free grace, abolish and despise those heaven- 
ly benefits which flow from him unto all the elect. Let others 
also mourn over themselves, that have with much affliction been 
seeking after Christ's benefits, peace of conscience, holmess of 
heart and life, promises to assure them of eternal glory, but have 


not souglit first to embrace and have the person of the Lord 
Jesus himself. 

O, come, come therefore unto the Lord Jesus for Christ him- 
self, and for all his l^enefits ; I say for all his benefits. This is that 
which the apostle prays for with bended knees for the Ephesians, 
that they might — not take in a little, but — comprehend the 
height, depth, length, breadth of Christ's love, that so they 
might be filled with all the fullness of God. This is that which 
our Saviour expressly with much vehemency calls for ; (John vii. 
37,) " Let all that thirst come unto me and drink ; " not sip and 
taste a little, as reprobates and apostates do, (Heb. vi. 4, 5,) but 
drink, and drink abundantly, as it is. (Cant. v. 1.) And observe 
it, that upon these very terms the Lord tenders grace and mer- 
cy. (Rom. V. 17.) The apostle doth not say, They that receive 
a little, but abundance of grace, shall reign by righteousness 
unto eternal life. •' Open thy mouth wide, and I will fill it." 
(Ps. Ixxxi. 11, 12.) And most certainly this is one principal 
difference between the faith of the elect and the reprobates, — 
and if I mistake not, the principal, — the elect close with Christ 
for that end, for which the Father offers him, which is, that 
they might possess his Son, and all his benefits, and therefore 
come poor and empty for all ; the reprobate come not 
for all, but for so much and no more than will serve their 
own turn; in misery they would have Christ to deliver 
them ; but what care they for spiritual mercies ? Li trouble of 
conscience, or after their soul falls into filthy lusts and sins, they 
come to Christ to forgive them and comfort them ; but what care 
they for holiness and a new nature ? Some sins they would have 
Christ save them from, but they regard not redemption from all. 
They can not come to Christ, that all the powers of darkness 
may be perfectly subdued, that their own sins, and selves, con- 
ceits, and wills, may be led away captive by this mighty con- 
queror ; that Christ, in all his authority, grace, peace, life, glory, 
might be forever advanced in them and by them. It was Aus- 
tin's complaint in his time of many of his hearers, that Christum 
assequi, to have Christ, was pleasing to them ; but sequi Chris- 
tum, to follow Christ, this was heavy. • To close with Christ^s 
person is sweet to many ; but to close with his will, and to come 
to him that he would give them a heart to lie under it, this bene- 
fit they desire not. All Christ is useless and needless ; but 
something from Christ is precious to them ; for the Lord Jesus' 
sake, beloved, take heed of this delusion. If any thing hath been 
bought for us at a dear rate, and cost much ; if the man should 
offer to hold any part of it back, we will not abate him any thing, 


we will have it all because it cost dear. I tell you pardon of 
sin, peace with God, the adoption of sons, the spirit of grace, per- 
severance to the end, the kingdom of glory, the riches of mercy, 
have been bought for you by a dear and great price, the precious 
blood of Christ ; and therefore, if the justice of God should hold 
back any thing, or thy own belief tell thee these are too great 
and many for so vile a creature as thou art to enjoy, yet abate 
the Lord nothing ; say thou art vile, yet Christ's blood, that 
bought not some, but all these, is very precious, and therefore 
take them all to thyself, as thy portion forever, and " bless the 
Lord," as David doth, (Ps. xvi. 7,) " that gave thee this coun- 
sel." Whiles you are in peace, it may be you may neglect so 
great salvation ; but the time of distress and anguish may come, 
wherein you may feel a need of all, even of those hidden depths 
of mercy above your reach and reason ; and therefore, as bees, 
gather in your honey in summer time, and, with Joseph, lay up 
in these times of plenty, wherein the exceeding riches of grace is 
opened and poured out at your heels for those times of ap- 
proaching famine, and for those many years of spiritual deser- 
tion and distress ; wherein you may think. Can it stand with 
the honor of God to save such a poor sinful creature as I am ? 
What iron heart is not drawn by this love, for the Lord to invite 
you to possess all or nothing ? Dives, in hell, was desirous of a 
drop to cool his tongue ; and behold the very depths and seas of 
grace are opened for thee to come in and partake of, if the Lord 
Jesus should be offered unto thee to pardon some sins, but not 
all ; to pardon all sins, but not to heal thy nature also ; or to 
heal some backslidings, but not all ; to supply thy spiritual 
wants, but not outward also, as may be best for thee ; or to sup- 
ply outward, but not inward and spiritual ; if he should offer to 
do thee good in this life, but not in death nor after death, you 
might refuse to come in ; but when all is offered, all that mercy 
which no eye ever saw to pity thee ; all that love wherewith 
Abraham, David, Paul, etc., were embraced ; now to refuse to 
come up and possess these, how can you escape the sorest ven- 
geance of a jealous God, that neglect so great salvation ? O 
Lord ! what extremity of anguish and bitterness wilt thou one 
day be in, when the contempt of this grace, gowing upon thy 
conscience, shall press thee down with these thoughts : I am now 
under all misery, but I might have had all God's grace, all Christ's 
glory ; but, wretch that I am, I would not. Methinks, if your own 
good Iiereby should not draw you, yet the exceeding great glory 
the Lord shall have thereby should force you to accept all 
this grace; for, if thou didst receive a little grace, believe a 


little mercy toward thee, this makes tliee sometimes exceeding 
thankful ; doth it not ? And the very hope of more makes thy 
heart break forth into a holy boasting and glorying in Christ : 
" Who is a God like unto thee ? " Suppose therefore you drank 
in all, and received all, that which the Lord freely offers, should 
not the Lord be exceedingly magnified then ? Couldest thou 
contain thyself then without crying out, " O Lord, now let 
thy servant depart in peace, for mine eyes have seen " (and 
my soul has now possession of) " thy salvation " ? Wouldest not 
call to the hills, and seas, and earth, and heavens, and saints, and 
angels, to break forth into glorious praises, and bless this God ? 

But what have I to do to come, that am so poor, and empty, 
and full of woes, and wants, and sins ? Never was any so 
miserable, and blind, and naked, as I. 

If faith cometh for all to Christ, and fetcheth all from him, 
then never be discouraged because thou hast nothing to begin 
unto him ; let all thy wants and miseries be arguments and motives 
therefore to come unto him. (Rev. iii. 17, 18,) " Because thou 
art poor and naked," nay, because thou " knowest it not," and 
art not alFected wdth it, therefore come unto me, and " buy eye 
salve, and gold, and white raiment." " Lord, pardon my sin, 
saith David, " because it is great ; have mercy upon me, for I 
am consumed with grief, and am in trouble. Let mercy and 
truth continually preserve me, for innumerable evils have com- 
passed me round about. Let us return unto the Lord, because 
he hath wounded us." I am a dog, therefore let me have 
crumbs, said the woman of Canaan. O, this is cross to sense 
and reason, and we can not believe, while we are so exceeding 
poor, empty, vile, that the Lord should look upon us ; but, beloved, 
you little think wdiat wrong you do to yourselves and the Lord 
Jesus hereby : for by this means Christ is not so much exalted, 
nor the creature humbled, — both which, concurring in faith, 
make those acts of faith most precious, — for while you stand 
upon something, and would have something to bring to Christ, 
you hereby exalt yourselves ; but when you -come with sense 
of nothing else but woes and wants, and see Christ now making 
of you welcome, O, this is not only mercy, but ravishing mercy. , 
If you should come with sense of somewhat to Christ, and to 
see his love to you, you might glorify mercy in the height, 
and length, and breadth of it, but not in the depth of it ; unless 
you see it reaching its hand to you, when you are fallen into 
so low and poor a condition as nothingness, and emptiness, and 
misery itself. And therefore do not come to Christ only for 
the benefits of the covenant, but for the condition of it also. 


When you feel a want of faith itself, as Hezekiah did, 
(Is. xxxviii, 14.,) '' Lord, I am oppressed, undertake for me,'* 
(1 Kings viii. 57, 58,) do not undertake to fulfil any part of the 
covenant, or any condition in it, or any duty required of thee, of 
thyself, but go empty to Christ, and say as David, " Lord, I 
will run the ways of thy salvation, if thou wilt set my heart at 
liberty." (Ps. cxix. 32, 33.) " Quicken me, and I will call upon 
thy name." (Ps. Ixxx. 18.) Be strong in the Lord, and the 
power of his might, but not of thine own. 

But I come for all, and am never a whit the better, but as 
poor and miserable still as ever I was. 

If the Lord keeps you poor and low, yet the same motive that 
made thee come, let it make thee stay ; it may be the Lord sees 
thou wouldest grow full and lifted up if he should give thee a lit- 
tle, and therefore keeps thee low ; better be humble than full and 
proud. '' Let us go unto the Lord, because he hath wounded, 
broken, and slain us." But they might object. We do come, 
but iind no help, no cure. It may be so ; yet it is said, " After 
two days he will revive us, and the third day we shall live in his 
sight, and we shall know him, if we shall follow^ on to know him.'* 
(ver. 6.) His goings forth are prepared as the morning ; it may 
be night for a time, but the Sun of righteousness will arise 
gradually and gloriously upon thy soul. 

Truly, brethren, v/hen I see the curse of God upon many 
Christians that are now grown full of their parts, gifts, peace, 
comforts, abilities, duties, I stand adoring the riches of the 
Lord's mercy to a little handful of poor believers, not only in 
making them empty, but in keeping of them so all their days ; 
and therefore come to the Lord, poor, empty, naked, nothing, 
cursed in the sense of thy want of all things, for all things, and 
then receive with gladness, yet boldness and holy confidence, not 
only pardon of some sins, but of all. Believe, answer not to 
some prayers, but all ; embrace in thy bosom not some few prom- 
ises, but all. It is a great ease of conscience. When may a 
Christian take a promise without presumption as spoken to him, 
and given to him in particular? And the rule is very sweet, but 
certain : when he takes all the Scripture and embraceth it as 
spoken unto him, he may then take any particular proper prom- 
ise boldly. My meaning is, when a Christian takes hold and 
wrestles with God for the accomplishment of all the promises of 
the New Testament ; when he sets all the commands before him, 
as his rule, and compass, and guide to walk after; when he 
applies all the thrcatenings to drive him nearer unto Christ the 
end of them, — this no hypocrite can do, this the saints should 
VOL. I. 19 


do, and by this may know Avhen the Lord speaks in any par- 
ticular to them. Go, I say again, therefore unto the Lord for 
all, and in the sense of all your emptiness be abundantly com- 
forted ; that, though you do not find supply from Christ, yet you 
come unto the Lord Christ for it. It is a certain rule, you shall 
not always want that good which you come to Christ to supply, 
nor always be mastered with that sin which you come to Christ 
with, to take away ; only then be sure you come for all, other- 
wise you do not come truly. Come first for Christ himself, and 
then (as I said) for all his benefits. 

To conclude : this is the direct and compendious way of 
living by faith, so much urged and pressed of God's servants ; 
for to live by faith properly is to live upon the promise in 
the want of the thing, or to apprehend the thing in the 
promise. (Heb. xi. 1.) Now, the promises are not given to 
the elect immediately, without Christ, but first Christ is given, 
i. e., offered in the gospel and received by faith, and then with 
him all things also ; and therefore the Scripture runs thus, (Is. Iv. 
1-4 :) " Come unto the waters and drink, and then I will 
make an everlasting covenant," (which contains all the promises,) 
" even the sure mercies of David." The apostle expressly disputes 
the case, and saith, " Where there is a testament," (containing 
evangelical promises,) " there must first be the death of the testa- 
tor," (Heb. ix. 15, 16,) to whom we must first " come by faith," be- 
fore we can have right to any promise. (Heb. vii. 22-25, and 10, 
16-18, 22.) " Being justified by faith," now " we have peace with 
God ; " nay, " we have access to God ; " nay, now " we are of 
sure standing," now " we hope in and glory to come," (Rom. v. 
1-4 :) all follow the first. 

How shall a Christian, therefore, live by faith ? Truly, first 
receive Christ and come to him for the end I mention ; and then 
thou mayest be sure all other things shall be given to thee. As 
for example : dost want any temporal blessing ? — suppose it be 
payment of debts, thy daily bread, provision for thy family, a 
comfortable yoke-fellow, etc., — look now through the Scripture 
for promises of these things, and let thy faith act thus : If God 
hath given me Christ, the greatest blessing, then certainly he 
will give me all these smaller matters as may be good for me ; 
but the Lord hath given me Christ, and therefore I shall not 
want. (Ps. xxiii. 1.) "The Lord is my shepherd," saith David; 
what follows ? "I shall not want." There is the like reason in 
all other things, — suppose it be in care of protection from 
enemies, — if the Lord hath given me Christ to save me 
from hell, then he will save me from these fleshly enemies much 


more. You shall see (Is. vii.) a promise given that " Syria 
should not prevail against Judah ; " thej doubted of this. How 
doth the Lord seek to assure them? You shall see, (ver. 14,) 
it is by promising " a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and 
his name shall be Immanuel ; " this is a strange reason ; yet you 
may see the reason of it if you consider this point. So, 
(Is. ix. 5, 6,) " The oppressor's rod shall be broken. For unto 
us a Son is born, a Son is given. By faith they put to flight the 
armies of aliens, brake down the walls of Jericho, did wonders in 
I the world." What did they chiefly look to in this their faith ? 
You shall see, (Heb. xi. 39, 40,) it was by respecting the promise 
to come, and the better thing, Christ Jesus himself, which we 
now see with open face, and therefore he concludes, (Heb. xii. 
1-3,) " Having such a cloud of witnesses," that thus lived and 
died by faith, "let us look unto Jesus, the Author and Finisher of 
ours." The prophet Habakkuk (Hab. ii. 5) affirms that the 
"just shall live by faith." What faith is that? Consult with the 
place, you shall see it was in the promise of deliverance from 
the Chaldean tyranny ; yet the apostle Paul applies it to faith in 
Christ's righteousness, and that truly, because if their faith had 
not respected Christ himself, in the first place, they could never 
have expected any deliverance by the promise of deliverance 
from the Chaldeans; but thus they might. 
5. The special ground ©f faith. 

The last thing in the description of faith is, that the soul thus 
comes upon the call of Christ in his word ; and this is the special 
'ground of faith, wherefore the soul comes to Christ. Take a sin- 
ner humbled and broken for sin, he can not prevent the Lord by 
icoming of himself unto Christ, and therefore the Lord prevents 
him, by his gracious call and invitation to come in. " Whom 
God hath predestinated, them hath-h^ called." Our translation 
from darkness into God's marvelous light is by being called. 
The soul is lost in humiliation ; the Lord Jesus, who is come to 
save that which is lost, seeketh it out in vocation, or calling. 
Sanctification is the restoring of us to the image of God we once 
liad in Adam, as corruption is the defacing of that image ; voca- 
tion is the calling of the soul unto Christ : this voice Adam never 
heard of; he did not need any call to come to Christ, and there- 
fore was immediately sanctified, as soon as he was made : but we 
need vocation unto Christ, before we can be sanctified by Christ ; 
we need this call to make us come to Christ, to put us into 
Christ, and therefore much more before we can receive any holi- 
ness from Christ ; the ground of our coming by faith is God's 
call: (2 Thess. ii. 13, 14,) " Chosen to salvation through sanctifi- 


cation," (the remote end of vocation,) " and belief of the truth," 
(the next end of it,) " whereiinto he hath called yon:" there is 
the ground of it. 

The explication of this call is a point full of many spiritual 
difficulties, but of singular n>e and comfort to them that are faith- 
ful and called. I shall omit many things, and explicate only 
those things which serve our purpose here in these three par- 
ticulars : — 

1. I shall show you what this call is, or the nature of it. 

2. The necessity of it. 

0. How it is a ground of coming, and what kind of ground 
for foith. 

1. The nature of this call I shall open for your more distinct 
understanding in several propositions, or theses. Our vocation 
or calling is ever by some word or voice, either outward or in- 
ward, or both ; either ordinary or extraordinary ; by the minis- 
try of men, or by immediate visions and inspirations of God. I 
speak not now of extraordinary call, by dreams and visions, and 
immediate inspirations, as in Abraham and others, before the 
Scriptures were penned and published ; nor of extraordinary 
call, by the immediate voice of Christ, as in Paul and in some 
other of the apostles; for these are ceased now, (Heb. i. 1,) un- 
less it be among people that want ordinary means, and elect 
infants, etc., whose call must be more than by ordinary means, 
because they want such means ; we speak now of ordinary call 
by the ministry of men. 

2. This voice in ordinary calling home of the elect to Christ 
is not by the voice of the law, (for the proper end of that is to 
reveal sin and death, and to cast down a sinner,) but by the voice 
of the gospel bringing glad tidings ; written by the apostles, and 
preached to the world. " He hath called you by our gospel. 
These things are written that you might believe. By the fool- 
ishness of preaching, the Lord saveth them that believe." I mean 
preaching at the first or second rebound, by lively voice, or 
printed sermons at the time of hearing, or in the time of deep 
meditation, concerning things heard ; the Spirit indeed inwardly 
accompanies the voice of the gospel, but no man's call is by the 
immediate voice of the Spirit without the gospel, or the immedi- 
ate testimony of the Spirit breathed out of free grace without the 
word. (Eph. i. 12, 13.) And therefore that a Christian should 
be immediately called without the Scripture, and the Scripture 
only given to confirm God's immediate promise, as a prince 
gives his letter to confirm his promise made to a man before, (as 
Valdesso would have it,) is both a false and a dangerous assertion. 


3. This voice of the gospel is the voice of God in Christ, or 
the voice of Jesus Christ, akhough dispensed by men, who are 
but weak instruments for this mighty work, sent and set in Christ's 
stead; but the call, the voice, is Christ's; it is the Lord's call. 
(Rom. i. 6.) It is certain some of the messengers of Christ 
called the Romans by the gospel ; yet Paul saith, " They were 
called by Christ Jesus ; the dead hear his voice, and arise, and 
live ; " and when the time of calling comes, they listen to it as his 
call : and hence it is styled, (Heb. iii. 1,) because the Lord Christ 
from heaven speaks, takes the written word in his own lips, as 
it were, (Cant. i. 1, 2,) and thereby pierceth through the ears, 
to the heart, through all the noise of fears, sorrows, objections 
against believing, and makes it to be heard as his voice ; the 
bowels of Christ now yearn towards a humbled, lost sinner, 
bleeding at his feet, therefore can contain no longer, but speaks, 
and calls, and makes the soul understand his voice : so that this 
call is not a mean business, because the Lord Jesus himself now 
speaks, whose voice is glorious. 

4. The substance of this call, or the thing the Lord calls unto, 
is to come unto him : for tiiere is a more common calling (or, as 
some term it, a particular calling) of men, as some to be masters 
or servants, (1 Cor. vii. 20, 21, 24,) or to office in church or 
commonwealth, as Aaron, (Heb. v. 4;) and the voice there is to 
attend unto their w^ork to which they are called. There is also 
a remote end of vocation, which is to holiness, (1 Thess. iv. 7,) and 
unto glory also, (2 Thess. ii. 14; Phil. iii. 14;) but we now speak 
of more special calling, the next end of which is to come unto 
Christ; the soul hath lived many years without him, the Lord 
Jesus will now have the lost prodigal to come home, to come to 
him ; the soul is weary and heavy laden, and the Lord Jesus 
would easily ease it without its coming to him : but this is his 
will; he must come to him for it: (Matt. xi. 27 ; Jer. iii. 7, 22,) 
'- 1 said, after she had done these things. Turn unto me, come unto 
me, ye backsliding children ; I will heal your backslidings." (Jer. 
iv. 1,) "If thou returnest, return unto me." This voice, "Come 
unto me," is one of the sweetest words that Christ can speak, or 
man can hear, full of majesty, mercy, grace, and peace ; a poor 
sinner thinks, Will the Lord ever put up such wrongs I have 
olh-red him, heal such a nature, take such a viper into his bosom, 
do any thing for me ? If there be but one in the world to be for- 
saken, is it not I ? The Lord therefore comes and calls, " Come 
unto me, and I will pardon all thy sins, I will heal all thy back- 
slidings, 1 will be angry no more." (Jer. iii. 12, 13.) " Though 
thou hast committed whoredom with many lovers, yet return unto 



me, saitli the Lord." (Jer. iii. 1.) Though thou hast resisted my 
Spirit, refused mj grace, wearied me with thine iniquities, yet 
come unto me, and this will make me amends ; I require nothing 
of thee else but to come : for God's call is out of free grace, 
(Gal. i. 6,) and therefore calls for no more, but only to come up 
and possess the Lord's fullness. (Luke xiv. 17. 1 Cor. i. 9.) 

5. This call to come is for substance all one with the oifer of 
Christ, which consists in three things : — 

1. Commandment to receive Christ as present and ready to 
be given to it ; as when we oifer any thing to one another, it is 
by commanding them to take it. (1 John ir. 23.) And this binds 
conscience to believe, as you will answer for the contempt of this 
rich grace at the great day of account. 

2. Persuasion and entreaty to come and receive what we 
offer ; for in such an offer, wherein the person is unwilling to 
receive, and we are exceedingly desirous to give, we then per- 
suade ; so doth Christ with us. 

3. Promise ; to offer a thing without a promise of having it, 
if we receive it, is but a mock offer ; and hence you shall find in 
Scripture some promise ever annexed unto God's offer, which is 
the ground of faith. (Jer. xxii.) 

6. This call or offer hath three special qualifications. First, it 
is inward as well as outward ; for the Lord calls thousands out- 
wardly, who yet never come, because they want an inward call to 
come ; an inward, whispering, still voice of God's Spirit ; and 
therefore it is said, " He that hath heard and learned " (not of man 
only, but) " of the Father cometh unto me." (John vi. 45.) The 
Lord doth not stand at the outward door only, and call to open, 
but the Lord Jesus comes in ; he comes near unto the very heart 
of a poor sinner, and makes that understand, (Hos. ii. 14;) and 
the Lord makes his grace glorious, and his mercy sweet unto the 
hearts of his elect. Look, (saith the Lord Jesus,) how I have 
left thousand thousands in the world, and have had greater cause 
so to have left thee ; but behold, I am come unto thee ; O, come 
thou unto me. 

2. It is a particular call ; for there is a general call and offer of 
grace to every one. Now, though this be a means to make it 
particular, yet the Spirit of Christ, which is wont to apply gen- 
erals unto particulars particularly, makes the call particular, that 
the soul sees that the Lord in special means me, singles out me 
in special to believe; otherwise the souls of the elect will not be 
much moved with the call of God, so long as they think the Lord 
offers no more mercy to me than to any reprobate ; and there- 
fore the Spirit of Christ makes the call particular. (Is. xliii. 1.) 


" I have called thee by name." (John x. 5,) " He calleth all his 
sheep by name ; " not that the Lord calls any by their Christian 
name, (as we say,) as the Lord did extraordinarily call Samuel, 
Samuel, and Paul, Paul ; but the meaning is, look, as the Lord 
from before all worlds writ down their name in the book of life, 
and loves them in special, so in vocation, (the first opening of 
election,) the Lord makes his oflfer and call special, and so special 
as if it were by name ; for the soul at this instant feels such a 
special stirring of the Spirit upon it, which it feels now, and 
never felt before; as also its particular case so spoken unto, and 
its particular objections so answered, and the grievousness of its 
sin in refusing grace so particularly applied, as if God, the only 
' Searcher of hearts, only spake unto it ; and so dares not but think 
and believe that the Lord meaneth me. 

3. It is effectual as well as inward and particular. (Luke xxiv. 
33.) " Compel them to come in." (John x. 16.) Christ's other 
sheep shall hear Christ's voice, and those he must bring home ; 
for every inward call is not effectual. There came a man in 
without his wedding garment, (Matt. xxii. 6-8 ;) whence our 
Saviour saith, " Many are called, but few chosen ; " but this I now 
speak of, as a calling out of purpose, (Rom. viii. 28 ;) and 
therefore never leaves the soul until it hath real possession of 
Christ, and rests there. This call falls upon a sinner humbled, 
not hard hearted ; and hence the call is effectual. (Matt. ix. 12, 
13. 2 Chron. xxx. 10, 11.) It is such a call as was in creation. 
(Rom. iv. 17.) And hence the soul can not but come, and when 
it is come it can not depart, like Peter, " Lord, whither should we 
go ? " And therefore, though it hath never so many objections 
in coming to Christ, never so much weakness or heartlessness to 
close with Christ, yet the Lord brings it home, and there keeps 
it ; and now it infinitely blesseth God that ever the Lord gave it 
an eye to see, a heart to come and seek after Jesus Christ. 
Thus much of the nature of this call : now follows the necessity 
of it, which appears in these three particulars : — 

1. No man should come unless first called; as it is in calling 
to an ordinary otfice, so it is in our calling much more unto 
special grace. The apostle saith, (Heb. v. 4,) that " no man 
takes this honor but he that is called of God ; " so what hath 
any man to do with Christ, to make himself a son of God, and 
heir of glory thereby, but he that is called of God? What have 
we to do to take other men's goods, unless called thereto ? Wiiat 
have we to do to take the riches of grace and peace, if not called 
thereto ? It is presumption to take Christ whilst uncalled, but not 
when you are called tfiereunto. 


2. Because no man would come without the Lord's call. (Matt. 
XX. 6, 7,) "Why stand you here all the day idle?" The 
answer was, " No man hath hired," or " called us thereto." When 
there is an outward call only, yet men will not come in. (Matt, 
xxiii. 37.) And therefore there must be an effectual call to 
bring men home. (Is. Iv. 5.) And therefore you shall see 
many; let there be a legal command, suppose to sanctify a Sab- 
bath, or to speak the truth ; they have no objections against 
obedience unto this. But press them to believe, show them 
God's call for it, they have more fears and objections rising 
against this than there be hairs on their head, because the soul 
would not close with